Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Essay Example
Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Essay Example

Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Essay Example

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  • Pages: 2 (344 words)
  • Published: March 30, 2022
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This book describes how HeLa cells came to be. The research field has benefitted many people due to the discovery of new biomedical practices. However, it is rife with gross misconduct concerning ethical issues. In the case of Henrietta Lacks, her tumor cells were obtained without her consent.

In the first part of the book, Henrietta succumbs to her cervical cancer. Her cancer cells thrive and are used all over the world. In subsequent parts, the HeLa cells were used in the production of a polio vaccine. They came in handy in the making of cell cultures and also in the development of clonal cell lines. In that era, there were unethical practices. This included the deliberate injection of patients and the Ohio state prisoners with the HeLa cells to see if they would develop tumors. That


is a practice that is unheard of in current times. It was practiced by a physician called Southam. Only when the physicians working for him refused to inject the patients without their consent, did he stop that practice. They did not want to violate the Nuremberg Code ( Skloot, 40).

The final part in the book illustrates the Lacks family. There were adverse effects due to their mother’s death as well as the issue of the HeLa cells. The daughter was full of paranoia as she did not comprehend what had become of her mother’s cancer cells. She did not understand the biomedical research. Her little understanding led her to conclude that her mother had been cloned. She believed that she had been cloned and then shot off into space. This knowledge came to her after her mother’s death for

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over 20 years.

The result of this book covers the major steps made in science. The book chronicles the history of Henrietta’s family. It also goes on to show the scientific advances based on the HeLa cells. It makes one realize that even though we did not know it, Henrietta Lacks touched all our lives.

Works cited

  1. Skloot, Rebecca. Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks. Crown publishers. 2010.
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