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Hela Cells Essay

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Below is an essay on "Hela Cells" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Until recently no one in the Scientific community, and beyond had never heard of Henrietta Lacks, the presence of HeLa cells were known but as far as their origin, a mystery. Henrietta Lacks was a black tobacco farmer from southern Virginia who got cervical cancer when she was 30 in Baltimore, MD. She was a poor tobacco farmer – who a doctor at Johns Hopkins took a piece of her tumor without telling her and sent it down the hall to scientists there who had been trying to grow tissues in culture for decades without success. No one knows why, but her cells never died. Henrietta cells were the first immortal cells to ever grow in culture. Since her death, more than 20 tons of her cells have been grown and used for AIDS research, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, the polio vaccine and cancer. Her cells are the most commonly used cells in science. Mrs. Henrietta Lacks’ did more for medicine and research in1951 and beyond than any other person. Henrietta’s cancer cells multiplied like nothing ever seen before. What was better was that the cells lived. What was not good for Henrietta was that the cells lived and grew in her body also. The cancer spread to almost every organ in her body between February and October 1951. What was considered unethical behavior by Dr. Gey was his appearance on TV with a vial of Henrietta's cells, which he called HeLa cells – He from Henrietta and La from Lacks. Neither the patient nor the family was informed of what was happening to Mrs. Lacks’ cells.
Her cells were soon being shipped from Baltimore, to all over the world.   The question still goes unanswered: Would it still be considered   “okay” to use cells in which are taken without one knowing, and used to the greater good considered to be right, or ethical? Is it morally and ethically right to use HeLa cells knowing the history and background of their origin? Two important questions in this never ending debate of bioethics in science and medicine.   It would be difficult to...

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