The Henrietta cells survived they have been used in labs for 65 years. Lacks got cancer in 1951. Henrietta lacks cells had multiple cells of human papillomavirus.The virus entered her cells and turned off the gene that would normally have turned off tumors. While working on lacks cells they understand viruses can turn off tumors. In 1960 henrietta cells were fused with mouse cells.
It had been eighty-five years since the Civil War ended for American culture in the 1950’s. Society was rife with segregation and inequality as if paying homage to a pre Emancipation Proclamation status quo. Slavery had since been abolished, but not the idea that free black men and women were any more their equals evident by the treatment of blacks across the country. In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot brings to life this world where black men and women are kept separate from white society by telling the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor tobacco farmer whose cervical cancer changed the face of science and medicine forever.
I do not think it was ethical for the doctors to just take Henrietta’s cells without letting her family know. She did sign an operation permit which said I hereby give consent to the staff of The John Hopkins Hospital to perform any operative procedures and under any anesthetic either local Deborah’s brothers, though, didn’t think much about the cells until they found out there was money involved. HeLa cells were the first human biological materials ever bought and sold, which helped launch a multi-billion-dollar industry. When Deborah’s brothers found out that people were selling vials of their mother’s cells, and that the family didn’t get any of the resulting money, they got very angry. Henrietta’s family has lived in poverty most of their lives, and many of them can’t afford health insurance. One of her sons was homeless and living on the streets of Baltimore. So the family launched a campaign to get some of what they felt they were owed financially. It consumed their lives in that way.
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