Argumentative Essay On Henrietta Lacks

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HeLa was vital to cloning research, counting the number of chromosomes in a human cell, and the polio vaccine. HeLa refers to a cell line that given a endless supply of nutrients can divide forever. In this way, they are considered to be “immortal.” These cells are so prominently used in scientific research that if lined up, HeLa cells would circle the Earth more than three times. But where did these cells come from? They came from a tumor on the cervix of a black woman in the 1950s, Henrietta Lacks. However, neither Henrietta Lacks nor her family were aware that her cells were taken from her and eventually turned into a multimillion-dollar industry. Henrietta Lacks’ family should receive economic reparations on the basis of lack of informed consent and published private information, while keeping in mind the impact on scientific advancement. Ethical research should include informed consent and privacy of information, but HeLa was created without fulfilling either of those. Henrietta visited the only major hospital that would treat a colored person, Johns Hopkins. Due to her lack of education and her social status, she did not question the white …show more content…
However, due to the hardiness of HeLa, other cells were contaminated by HeLa. Victor McKusick had one of his postdoctoral fellows, Susan Hsu, obtain blood from Henrietta’s family so that genetic markers could be compared to HeLa, which could be used to find contaminates of HeLa. When Henrietta’s family had their blood drawn to be genetically tested, they thought they were being tested for cancer. McKusick published his findings along with a family pedigree, name, and the genetic data. Although the Lacks family voluntary participated, it was not informed consent because they did not have the information nor the capability necessary to understand why they were tested. Additionally, they did not consent to their genetic data being published for the world to

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