I thought that it was sad that HeLa cells gave so much to everyone else, yet the Lackses did not reap any benefits that came from HeLa cells. Health Professionals were making millions of dollars by selling HeLa cells, yet the family of the person who contributed those cells could not even afford medical insurance. Any of the doctors or researchers could have easily set up a fund for Henrietta’s family given all that Henrietta’s cells did for them and the field of medical research in general. The health professionals took advantage of the fact that the Lackses lacked higher education and an understanding of what was happening to Henrietta’s cells. If the family had knowledge of the profits the researchers were making, they could have fought for rights to portions of them and used them to better their
As Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel says, “Human beings were not human beings in their eyes. They were abstractions.” While this quote is about Nazi doctors and their human experiments, one can easily apply this to the case of Henrietta and her cells. No one cared about Henrietta, the black woman who unknowingly gave her cells to science, but instead they cared immensely about HeLa, the cells that launched a multi-billion dollar industry and would contribute themselves endlessly to medical research. The woman who these cells came from remained unidentified for decades and the family she left behind was living in poverty. For the scientific community, endless cell life was huge, but it would mean nothing to her family until 1973 when they first learned that Henrietta’s cells were still alive.
The more time that was spent studying these cells, the more questions that arose in the quest to find the cure for cancer, the greatest in medicine were being defeated by the cells of an African American woman. Therefore, when the statement is made that Henrietta beat science, I take it as her condition and cells were so complex that even the greatest minds could not figure out why they did what they did. She still contributed to many other solutions that could save millions and billions of
Harkening back to the story of Henrietta Lacks, one is quick to note that her descendants received none of the revenue generated from Lacks’s immortal cell line. In fact, her descendants could not even afford to buy into the very healthcare system that she revolutionized. Ultimately, it’s important to note that the medical companies themselves are primarily responsible for the results yielded from cell donations due to their rigorous work, though it’s quite evident that the donors themselves should receive a portion of the profits. Even still, other disadvantages to tissue collection linger throughout the practice of
So far, all of the samples Mary Kubicek tried to grow had died. She was handed Henriet... ... middle of paper ... ... when “HPV inserted its DNA into the long arm of her eleventh chromosome and essentially turned off her P53 tumor suppressor gene” (Skloot 213). This allows the cancer cells to produce monstrously virulent cells, making them hard to kill. After sixty years HeLa cells are still one of the most popular cells in the world. They were not voluntarily taken, but they have been one of the biggest contributions to society.
HeLa cells were one of the greatest medical inventions that came about for the scientific field and yet the woman behind this medical feat is not fully remembered and honored. Her cells and tissue were taken away from her without consent and more than that, she was exploited for being black and not questioning what the doctor was doing. Her family suffered through countless years of agonizing pain in which they were misinformed about where and what her cells were being used for. Yes, HeLa cells changed the way we view medicine today, but only at the cost of creating one of the greatest controversies of owning ones body. Works Cited Skloot, Rebecca.
The use of Henrietta Lacks cells has led to many scientific breakthroughs, e.g., the cure to polio, cloning, and the human genome project. Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951. These cells underwent a mutation that caused them to become immortal, meaning that they continue to divide since her death in 1951 to this very day. However, her cells raise an ethical question, because before she died she did not give consent for scientists to use her cells and after she died they did not tell her family that they were using them. This has been an ongoing controversy because the cells have been so beneficial for society, but they are derived from shady procedures.
At first glance, the harvesting of cancer cells from Henrietta Lacks ' tumor seemed like no big deal. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks reports many examples of violations of the Lackses’ privacy, such as the retrieval of her cancer cells, and being misinformed about her inability to have children after treatment. After Henrietta’s death, Skloot describes Mary Kubicek being asked to assist with Henrietta’s autopsy to retrieve more cells. Skloot describes Mary’s reaction, “When I saw toenails …I thought, Oh jeez, she’s a real person… it hit me for the first time that those cells we’d been working with all this time and sending all over the world, they came from a live woman. I’d never thought of it that way” (Skloot, 2010, page 91).
If our mother so important to science, why can’t we get health insurance?” (pg.168). Someone who disagrees with this standpoint may argue that scientists had been trying for years to develop the perfect culture medium and had a much more hands on experience with the cells (pg.35), therefore, they should be receiving the earnings from any outcomes the HeLa cells may produce. While the scientists were in fact the brains behind the scientific advances, the family should be acknowledged on behalf of Henrietta Lacks. These successes in science would not have been possible without the origin of the cells: Henrietta Lacks. For some of the family, the primary focus was not even the profit.
President Bush, on August 9, 2001, addressed the nation on prime-ti... ... middle of paper ... ...m any real human trails puts discourage in many people. People want fast answers and scientists cannot give them fast answers with this research because it is so tedious. Another thing is the cost factor. Even though there is no federal money being spent on embryonic stem cell research, there are many private sectors that are being paid to do this research. Also, the lives of women contributing to donate cells are at risk.