Henrietta Lacks Research Paper

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Scientific advancements are made through research and experimentation on human cells. Journalists then take these advancements and write articles about them. One person who played a vital role in the medical field was Henrietta Lacks. Her cells, HeLa cells, were used to save countless lives from the 20th century till present day. HeLa cells are responsible for revolutionizing the medical field as the cells helped develop the polio vaccine, cloning and various cancer treatments. The cells modeled either as human normal cells or cancer cells. Rebecca Skloot’s work of history, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, illustrates how the medical and journalistic world exploited Henrietta and her family. The Lacks family faced injustices and scientific…show more content…
For example, Henrietta’s cells were sold to scientists, “At first the Tuskegee Center supplied HeLa cells only to polio testing las. But when it became clear that there was no risk of a HeLa shortage, they began sending the cells to any scientist interested in buying them, for ten dollars plus Air Express fees” (97). Not only were the cells sold to scientists but also biotech companies.“Microbiological Associates-which later became part of Invitrogen and BioWhittaker, two of the largest biotech companies in the world- got its start selling HeLa…What we do know is that today, Invitrogen sells HeLa products that cost anywhere from $100 to nearly $10,000 per vial. A search of the U. S Patent and Trademark Office database turns up more than seventeen thousand patents involving HeLa cells” (194). This was unethical because the Henrietta’s family did not participate in the profit made from the cells. It was dishonorable to sell the cells and not give compensation to the Lacks family. Additionally, Henrietta’s sons, Lawrence and Sonny, were unaware that the cells were being sold. “Lawrence and Sonny knew nothing of this. All they knew was that Gey had grown their mother’s cells at Hopkins, someone somewhere was making money off of them, and that someone wasn’t related to Henrietta Lacks” (195). Ultimately, it was unjust to sell the HeLa cells and not make the family aware of the fact or share the

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