Henrietta Lacks Thesis

1126 Words5 Pages
The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks is a book about the women behind the scientific revolution of using actual cancer cells to perform cancer research. Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman who was barely educated and worked as a tobacco farmer. At the age of thirty she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. In Lacks’ time being uneducated, African American, and a woman was not a great mix. They were often undermined and taken advantage of. When Lacks started to become very ill she went to the nearest hospital that would accept black patients. There the doctor, George Gey, misdiagnosed her illness and took a tissue sample without her consent. After suffering through her illness and trying to keep up with her five children Henrietta died…show more content…
In fact, her family didn’t even know. They received neither payment nor acknowledgment for her uncredited contributions to science. Henrietta’s family were very poor; some lived on the streets and most could not afford proper health care. Meanwhile Dr. Gey and his colleagues were growing rich. Scientists and reporters occasionally inquired about the source of HeLa, but Henrietta Lacks ' name was usually attributed to the fictitious "Helen Lane”, "Helen Larson" or "Henrietta Lakes." This book gives credit to Henrietta and her family for their great contributions to science. The author is the innovator who dug up this story and made sure Henrietta is given the recognition she…show more content…
The first idea, the process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life, is presented by the evolution of HeLa cells. The cells need to adapt to their ecological niche. This is done when a cells divides, genetic mutations occur, and the ones that make the cells better adapted to their ecological niche, or their petri dish, are preserved by natural selection. “When Henrietta Lacks’ cells first became cancerous, they also acquired the ability to survive indefinitely in a culture medium; that massive genetic transformation made them substantially different from ordinary human cells, and after four decades of evolution they have become more different still. Different strains of HeLa cells, analogous to different races of human beings, have even developed in some of the geographically separated lines.” (discovermagazine.com). The second idea, biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce, and to maintain dynamic homeostasis, is represented when the cells reproduce. HeLa cells are considered to be immortal meaning that they are kept alive and are able grown indefinitely. This tells us that the cells are not at homeostasis because their “births” exceed their “deaths”. The reason behind this and the type of energy the cells use is not entirely known, which makes it difficult to to completely relate the HeLa cells to the second big idea of AP Biology. The

More about Henrietta Lacks Thesis

Open Document