Henrietta Lacks was an African American girl whose cancer cells are the supply of the HeLa cell line, the primary immortalized cell line and one of the most significant cell
lines in medical research. She was Born August 1, 1920, into a family of impoverished tobacco farmers in Roanoke, Virginia. And further in her life cancer took her While her cells thrived, Henrietta declined. By, September cancer had spread throughout her body. Early, the following month Henrietta died, at the age of 31 from the effects of cervical cancer on October 4, 1951, after treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
Lacks grew up in rural Virginia. After giving birth to her first child( Lawrence Lacks) at 14 and her second child in 1939(Elsie Lacks).elsie was disabled and was not able to communicate she was admitted into Crownsville Hospital Center. That was where she lived out her life .she married her cousin David Lacks, In 1941 the young family moved to Turner Station, near Dundalk, Maryland, in Baltimore County, so David could work in Bethlehem Steel at Sparrows Point.
After Lacks had given birth to their fifth child, she was diagnosed with cancer.
Tissue samples from her tumors were taken without consent throughout treatment and these samples were then subsequently developed into the HeLa cell line.
George Otto Gey was the first researcher to study Lacks’ cancerous cells, found that her cells were unique. They performed mitosis at a rapid rate and could be kept alive long enough to allow a more in-depth examination. Until the finding of these cells, cells cultured for laboratory studies survived at most two to four days, that time from was not enough to perform valid testing. Lacks’ cells were the first that could be divided multiple times without dying, which is why they became known as “immortal”.
Twenty-five years after Henrietta died, a scientist discovered that many cell cultures thought to be from other tissues like breast and prostate cells were, in fact, HeLa cells.
It turned out that HeLa cells could float on dust particles within the air and travel on unsanitary items such as unwashed hands and contaminate other cultures.
Lacks cells can do something other cells cannot. Lacks cells produced infinitely the Chromosomes of a HeLa cell have anywhere from 76 to 80 total chromosomes. This is the variation from other cells, on average the normal chromosome count is 46 in a diploid cell.
Scientists to this day still use HeLa cells for research. Scientist Jonas Salk used the HeLa strain to develop the polio vaccine, sparking mass interest in the cells. As desire grew for these cells, scientists cloned the cells in 1955. With knowledge brought by the HeLa cell line our understanding of cancer, HIV/AIDS and cells basic functions advanced.HeLa cells are still widely used today to test anti-tumor medicines.
These Cells were obtained from her body without her awareness. Then used to form the HeLa cell line, which had been used extensively in medical research since that time. But informed consent was not in this exchange. Permission was not granted in the knowledge of the possible consequences, typically contacted family members, seeking blood samples and other genetic elements, but inquiries from the family regarding the use of HeLa cells, and publications that included their own genetic codes. The HeLa case has made questions about the legality of using genetic materials without authorization.
Neither Lacks nor her family granted permission to harvest her cells, which were then cloned and sold.
In “my” opinion, the doctors should have gotten formal permission to have been using her cells. The right, she has of her body was taken away from her. In this unfair act that the doctors performed. The unfair and an injustice was for the greater good we now know the development of the polio vaccine. The cells have furthered our understanding of HIV/ AIDS, cancer and the developing anti-tumor leukemia, influenza, hemophilia, Parkinson’s disease. Even if it was for the greater good of the human race. Scientist or companies shouldn’t in any circumstances, commercialize the patient’s raw materials. Those patients have the right to gain the following profit. Patients right to say where the raw materials from their own bodies go and are used for is extremely important.
Lacks died of cancer sixty years ago, however, her cells were taken without her knowledge or consent are still alive today.
Henrietta lacks saved lives without even knowing .she is a hero to many, And without the scientist, in place, the studies would have never come to be.