The Importance Of Genetic Testing In The Henrietta Lachs Case

1692 Words 7 Pages
One of the biggest issues that came from the Henrietta Lachs story and cells came with genetic testing. Why is this important? Utilizing information about an individual’s clinical, genetic, genomic, and environmental conditions, personalized medicine offers the possibility that internists will be able to predict which diseases are most likely to affect particular individuals, evaluate how those diseases will progress and determine the most appropriate treatment regimen. (Feldman, 2012) This might be a great idea and sound helpful to many, but there is a reason this may not be such a great thing. Genetic testing can show certain issues that may cause employers to raise the rate of insurance or discriminate hiring someone because they have …show more content…
When these cells were harvested, permission was not given in order to use her cells for such research and it was not given to sell her cells to others around the world in order to experiment on. Ethically, I believe that everyone should have the right to have his or her cells or any tissue taken from their bodies not used in testing or research if they do not want it to. There are many who have personal feelings and beliefs that do not allow for others to use anything taken from their bodies for research of experimentation. In my own life, I experienced the need for permission to use tissue when my father in law was diagnosed with prostate cancer. When he was diagnosed he had to wait a few months before they could do his surgery. Nearer the time of surgery he was approached about joining a medical study both with treatment and also with using anything that was removed during the surgery for study. My father in law needed time to think about what was being asked of him. There is an understandable feeling of ownership when it comes from anything taken from our body and also the issue of deciding if an experimental course of treatment is something that someone can feel safe with when diagnosed with something that can be as serious as cancer. Being a religious man, he took time to pray, seek counsel, and speak to our family about what he was feeling and thinking about what was being asked of him. In the end, he chose to go through a normal and tested course of treatment but allowed for his prostate to be used in research if needed. Having the option was important to everyone in our family. Had we found out later that they had taken a part of my father in law and used it for research and testing without our knowledge would have led to a feeling of betrayal and had us questioning the motives behind such a decision. These

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