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Author Topic: Immortal Cells Stolen  (Read 824 times)
Benny B
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« on: March 28, 2013, 07:17:42 AM »

Unless you're a medical researcher, or have read the memoir on her life, then you've probably never heard of Henrietta Lacks. But

Henrietta_Lacks_(1920-1951)
whether you're familiar with Lacks or not,  you certainly benefited from her immortal cells. Why? Because Henrietta Lacks' cells were no ordinary, run of the mill, cells. Her cells - taken from her without her permission - were immortal cells, used to develop numerous medical treatments.

From Rebecca Skloot, who wrote The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the definitive work on Lacks'  life and contribution:

  Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells--taken without her knowledge in 1951--became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance.

The trouble began when Henrietta Lacks began bleeding profusely after the birth of her fifth child, Joseph, and was diagnosed with cervical cancer.  During radiation treatment, tissue samples were taken from Lacks'  cervix - without her permission - became part of the HeLa cell line, the first immortal cells ever grown.

The HeLa cell line became one of the most used cell lines in medical research, and would weigh 50 million metric tons if you could weigh all the HeLa cells ever grown on a scale today.


Henrietta Lacks died at age 31, and neither Lacks nor her family were ever compensated for the contribution she made to medical science, even though biomedical corporations continue to profit from her cells.
 
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Thick Nick
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2013, 11:09:53 AM »

Would you be posting this if she was white? You racist piece of crap. Gtfo no one likes you or want to read your crap.
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2013, 11:17:57 AM »

America the land of the free, just, etc..  Roll Eyes

I never knew that, thank you for sharing. There are a lot of garbage racist people on here like thick nick for example.
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Benny B
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2013, 12:29:17 PM »

Would you be posting this if she was white? You racist piece of crap. Gtfo no one likes you or want to read your crap.
LOL!



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Benny B
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2013, 12:31:46 PM »

America the land of the free, just, etc..  Roll Eyes

I never knew that, thank you for sharing. There are a lot of garbage racist people on here like thick nick for example.
You're welcome.  Smiley

The book on her life and the story of her cells is fascinating and should be read by everyone.
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2013, 03:46:16 PM »

Taken with or without her permission, she should've been compensated. There should also be some sort of monument to her somewhere. Seriously.
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2013, 06:18:29 AM »

For years scientists have tried to culture cells outside of the body. They have always died in a matter of days.
Her's were the first cells to keep living. Her contribution to expanding the knowledge bank of medical science, cancer research etc., is incalculable.

In fact, the ENTIRE BIO-TECH INDUSTRY wouldn't exist without her cells. There are companies that are selling samples of her cells to medical researchers all over the planet for multiple millions of dollars, but neither her, nor her descendants have ever received a dime.

A friend of mine did an interview with a woman who wrote a book about her. It was one of the first books her descendants have ever willingly collaborated with or endorsed because they felt the author was not simply just another person looking to make money off them. I believe also, a portion of the proceeds if not all the profits are going to either a trust fund or foundation to help her children & grandchildren.  I'm gonna see if he has the interview archived on YouTube.

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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2013, 06:25:09 AM »

Apparently her cells weren't immortal cuz the bitch be dead
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2013, 06:28:08 AM »

Apparently her cells weren't immortal cuz the bitch be dead

Her physical body gave up the ghost, ...but her cells live on.
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2013, 03:59:38 PM »

Apparently her cells weren't immortal cuz the bitch be dead

hurrrr  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2013, 06:19:59 PM »

Benny, what new manner of mischief are you up to?

I took a look at this book because it seemed vaguely familiar, and because it might be useful in future discussions I might have concerning medical ethics.

Along with 24KT, I think that the story behind Henrietta Lacks' inestimable contribution to science and modern human life shows how hitherto silent voices have had great impact on contemporary society. However, sometimes we find that those who set out to right such wrongs can be evasively clever, if not deceitful, on how to present and frame certain narratives. The blurb on the book's cover, like the title of this thread, expresses moral indignation on how HeLa cells were collected without Lacks' consent. True. But, the book also states,

          Like many doctors of his era, TeLinde [the researcher who collected Lacks' cancerous cells] often used patients from the public wards for  
          research, usually without their knowledge. Many scientists believed that since patients were treated for free in the public wards, it was
          fair to use them as research subjects as a form of payment …. And TeLinde began collecting samples from any woman who happened to
          walk into Hopkins with cervical cancer. Including Henrietta (pp. 29-30).

Although it might seem extremely cold comfort, the utilitarian aspect of medical research has seldom been good moral business. For its part in the story, Johns Hopkins started as a charity hospital to serve the poor, and it never used the HeLa cells for any commercial venture (p. 225). The quote above makes clear that the practice of collecting cell samples was not confined only to Lacks, and "though no one had told Henrietta that TeLinde was collecting samples or asked if she wanted to be a donor" (p. 33), she was merely one of at least 30 sick women who had undergone the same hidden procedure. Was this practice ethical? No. Should Lacks' family receive some form of compensation? Probably.
      Lacks' personal story is very sad, and it conveys the awful suffering that patients with terminal cancer have in common. There is also little doubt that African Americans have been exploited in medical research;* however, other than the fact that Lacks was an unwitting donor of game-changing cells, her contribution to science was passive. Recognition for her necessary role in medical history was unfairly delayed, but a lot more needs to be said about the talented medical researchers who made groundbreaking and productive use of the HeLa cells (which are very unruly and can easily contaminate other cell cultures). Of course, the book is mostly silent about this aspect. Its focus is on Lacks' personal story, and the unethical (but perfectly legal at the time) nature of tissue rights.

*See Harriet Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present.  

Having said all this, I must relate that the most memorable character in the book is one "Dr. Sir Lord," a.k.a. Dr. Sir Lord Keenan Kester Cofield, who, an unabashed serial litigant, deserves special mention in some detail:

          Sir Lord Keenan Kester Cofield was the cousin of Deborah's [Henrietta Lacks' daughter] husband's former stepdaughter, or something like
          that. No one in the family remembers for sure …. Keenan Kester Cofield wasn't a doctor or lawyer at all. In fact, Cofield had served years
          in various prisons for fraud, much of it involving bad checks, and he'd spent his jail time taking law courses and launching what one judge
          called "frivolous" lawsuits. Cofield sued guards and state officials connected to the prisons he'd been in, and was accused of calling the
          governor of Alabama from jail and threatening to murder him. Cofield sued McDonald's and Burger King for contaminating his body by
          cooking fries in pork fat, and he threatened to sue several restaurants for food poisoning—including the Four Seasons in New York City—
          all while he was incarcerated and unable to eat at any restaurants. He sued The Coca-Cola Company, claiming a bottle of soda he'd
          bought was filled with ground glass, though he was in a prison that only offered Pepsi products in aluminum cans. He'd also been
          convicted of fraud for a scam in which he got an obituary of himself published, then sued the newspaper for libel and damages up to $100
          million. He told the FBI that he'd filed at least 150 similar lawsuits (pp. 225-27).

LMAO
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2013, 07:32:43 AM »

hurrrr  Roll Eyes

I was joking. Lighten up. Life's is to short.
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2013, 03:52:30 AM »

For years scientists have tried to culture cells outside of the body. They have always died in a matter of days.
Her's were the first cells to keep living. Her contribution to expanding the knowledge bank of medical science, cancer research etc., is incalculable.

In fact, the ENTIRE BIO-TECH INDUSTRY wouldn't exist without her cells. There are companies that are selling samples of her cells to medical researchers all over the planet for multiple millions of dollars, but neither her, nor her defendants have ever received a dime.

A friend of mine did an interview with a woman who wrote a book about her. It was one of the first books her descendants have ever willingly collaborated with or endorsed because they felt the author was not simply just another person looking to make money off them. I believe also, a portion of the proceeds if not all the profits are going to either a trust fund or foundation to help her children & grandchildren.  I'm gonna see if he has the interview archived on YouTube.


THe book is available here:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Immortal-Life-Henrietta-Lacks/dp/1400052181/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365329952&sr=8-1&keywords=hela+cells


I couldn't find George's interview with Rebecca Skloot, however, I did find Steve Paikin's interview

Rebecca Skloot author of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" being interviewed by TV Ontario's Steve Paikin of The Agenda

Rebecca Skloot: The Story of HeLa

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnUp0xQlfK8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnUp0xQlfK8</a>



A follow up of that interview can be found here:


Who Owns Your Genetic Material

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2TpcEM-76s" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2TpcEM-76s</a>
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