Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks Thesis

1470 Words 6 Pages
Henrietta Lacks was born in 1920, and died 31 years later in 1951. When researchers took samples of Henrietta 's cervix while she was still alive, they found that her cancer cells were growing 20 times faster than her normal cells. Scientists like George Gey wanted to find a way in which cancer cells could be fought. He sent Henrietta 's cells to other scientists who would be able to use it for research. HeLa cells were used to diagnose genetic diseases, fight polio, and create vaccines. Because the cells didn 't appear to have a chance of dying out, scientists used the cells to test the effects of drugs, stress, hormones, etc. Due to the popularity of these cells, a multi-billon dollar industry was formed. The attitude of these scientists …show more content…
This conveys to the reader the message that Rebecca Skloot is trying to send. The descriptive conversations between Rebecca and Deborah makes it possible to imagine how hard it was to process information on one 's mother. It was clear that Deborah was a strong woman, who took large measures with Rebecca Skloot to discover as much as possible about her mother. The scientific knowledge that Deborah and Rebecca gain from unearthing the past as well as the emotional pain that comes along with these findings is definitely hard for someone who does not know much about their mother. She said, "Everything going on with my mother and sister is making my nerves break down." Dr. Gey never told the family about the HeLa cells. Instead, Bobbette had to learn from a doctor who mentioned that he happened to work with cells with the name Lacks. What he later found out was that the cells of his lab did belong to Bobbette 's mother in law, Henrietta. In some parts of the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a comparison is shown between what the doctors were looking for and what the family was looking for. For instance, to help solve the contamination problem with HeLa, Victor McKusick said it would be possible if they got the DNA from Henrietta 's children. When Susan Hsu asked to come to draw blood, the family thought they wanted to test the children to see if they got that cancer that killed Henrietta. What they didn 't know was that the doctor was using it to test the family for genetic markers. All this time, Deborah believed that she might have cancer. When she went to meet McKusick, she asked what happened to her mother and what the blood tests were for. McKusick explained that the HeLa cells were used for research and vaccinations. At this point the most painful thing for Deborah was thinking that parts of her mom were

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