Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. Next time you sigh loudly or roll your eyes at the prospect of this task, think about the people who came before us who were never offered the luxury of informed consent, confidentiality, and protection from discrimination. The fact that the HeLa cell line is the foundation of so much valuable research is rightfully a source of pride for the family of Henrietta Lacks. Don't get me wrong, Henrietta and her family have had a hard life, and they do deserve some sympathy. Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent.
Ms. Skloot of course wrote the book upon which the movie is based, but she is also a character in the story, a white woman intruding on a black family that at first is not inclined to share information about the matriarch or the rest of the clan.
See how this article appeared when it was originally published on NYTimes.com. I don't think they will ever see monetary compensation for their mother's cancer cell line, however. She dug it alllllll up. Science writing is often just about “the facts.” Skloot’s book, her first, is far deeper, braver and more wonderful. Or, as is the case hear, having learned so much about which I knew nothing. Labeled “HeLa”, Henrietta’s cells were reproduced by the billio. I am not sure the details about the science involved in the story will appeal to all. The ethical issues implicated in the HeLa story are many and tangled. My thoughts on this book are kind of all over the place.
And the way she told Henrietta's story was beautiful and almost reflective of Henrietta's life. I must admit to being glad when I turned the last page on this one, but big time kudos to Rebecca Skloot for researching and telling Henrietta's story. I try not to bring my politics to bear here quite too often but this really really makes me feel strongly that commercialization of things in biological research, especially people's biological matter and tissue shouldn't be happening. I am also a middle school student and reading this book. Refresh and try again. During her treatment, the doctors at Johns Hopkins took some cells from her failing body and used them for research. Deborah pressed a cold vial to her lips. Suffering from hives and extreme anxiety, Deborah seeks out a relative who channels the voice of God. A really good case study can turn a deeply contentious issue into an opportunity for thoughtfulness and compassion; right and wrong (to the extent that those concepts even belong in the study of ethics) are nuanced by descriptions of circumstances or values or human need that can make it easier to see and hear and believe the ones on the other side(s) of an issue. And so, like any good celebrity, HeLa had a scandal: In 1966 it became clear that HeLa had contaminated hundreds of cell lines, destroying research as far away as Russia. This whole situation just feels quite perverse honestly and the book left me feeling disheartened. But, if you think you will like one of the other, I don’t think the one you don’t care for will be distractin. She deserved so much better. The movie, also titled “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” was directed by George C. Wolfe, who had a starry cast at his disposal headed by Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne.
We worry when there's nothing to worry about.”, “She's the most important person in the world and her family living in poverty. Henrietta Lacks was a mortal.
This was not an unusual thing to have done in 1951. A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later. Skloot narrates the science lucidly, tracks the racial politics of medicine thoughtfully and tells the Lacks family’s often painful history with grace. And the way she told Henrietta's story was beautiful and almost reflective of Henrietta's life. The tedious, repetitious ones that you could have sworn you already completed at least a thousand times? They had qualities that made them uniquely valuable as research tools. And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance? And I think if we wants things to be better moving forward both need to be addressed, not just one.
February 2nd 2010 This was a really good book that leaves one with more questions than it answers, especially at this moment with the explosion in investment and growth in health/biotech. Then throw in two years working in a tissue culture hood, two more in a narrative nonfiction book group, and another big chunk of time studying infectious diseases. and eventually became a part of it. What a wonderfully told story.
It might not be far from the truth to state that she was the most important person who ever lived.
I read this as more research on Henrietta for my forthcoming novel THE BOOK OF PHOENIX and it was exactly what I needed and wanted.
What should she watch out for (if anything)? . Really... such landmark cells and these folks in Maryland and VA are still scraping?
It's hard to read about the poverty and lack of education and the cavalier approach towards informed consent in the early days of Johns Hopkins Research Hospital. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot, Full disclosure: I come to this book from a weirdly fortuitous place. Next time you sigh loudly or roll your eyes at the prospect of this task, think about the people who came before us who were never offered the luxury of informed consent, confidentiality, and protection from discrimination. Welcome back. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? "Physician Seeks Volunteers For Cancer Research."
Horrendous injustices prompted these forms into action so that history does not repeat itself. Labeled “HeLa”, Henrietta’s cells were reproduced by the billions over the following sixty years and have been instrumental in experiments across a wide range of biological science.
I think it is their proof that they actually replaced that part and also for you to decide how you want to dispose, resell, reuse or recycle it. Henrietta was a poor black woman only 31 years of age when she died of cervical cancer leaving five children behind, her youngest, Deborah, just a baby. . I think it's really important though that we all start grappling with and instituting better processes around things like informed consent.
But “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is much more than a portrait of the Lacks family. This is such an important story. A physical part of her body has saved hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of lives, and improved the lives of countless oth. Horrendous injustices prompted these forms into action so that history does n. You know all those forms you have to fill out while waiting at the doctor and dentist office?
“What makes this sample so unique is that this is the first cell line we have discovered in over 30 years of trying that can survive and reproduce indefinitely.
The gift of life is surely the greatest gift of all. So watch the film for a well acted CliffsNotes version of the book — intriguing and thought provoking, but also frustrating.
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