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The clinic researchers utilize the laboratory-cultivated human cells to study the details of how cells work and test numerous suggestions concerning the causes and treatment of many illnesses. The cells they require are, in fact, “immortal” – they are capable to grow for an indefinite period, being frozen for years, separated and shared by scientists. In 1951, a researcher at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore developed the initial eternal human cell line with a sample extracted from a black woman suffering from cervical cancer. Those cells, HeLa cells, rapidly became priceless to clinic research – though the donor maintained unknown for years. In the book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks the young journalist Rebecca Skloot describes the chronicle of life of the resource of the remarkable HeLa cells, Henrietta Lacks, and depicts the cell’s influence on existing medicine and Henrietta’s relatives.

Henretta Lacks and HeLa Cells

Henrietta Lacks was a black-skinned tobacco farmer from Virginia who suffered from cervical cancer when she was 30. One doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital took a part of h Henrietta’s tumor without her consent and sent it to scientists who had been attempting to cultivate tissues in culture for years without any noticeable success. All previous cells could not live for a long period of time. However, the situation was different with Henrietta’s cells. No one understands why, but her cells never elapsed. Henrietta’s cells were the primary everlasting human cells ever cultivated in culture. They were crucial to creating the polio vaccine. Numerous scientific landmarks have utilized her cells, embracing cloning, gene mapping, and even in vitro fertilization.

Twenty-five years after Henrietta passed away, one researcher found out that numerous many cell cultures believed to be from other tissues, counting prostate and breast cells, were actually HeLa cells. The scientists discovered that HeLa could drift on dust in the air and travel on hands and contaminate many other cells. It became a huge controversy. Thus, a group of researchers found Henrietta’s family to take their samples hoping they could utilize their family’s DNA to create the map of genes of Lacks so they could understand, which cells were HeLa and which were not, to start resolving the contamination trouble.

Hence, scientists telephoned Henrietta’s husband. They did not know that Henrietta’s husband had third-grade schooling and did not even realize what the term “cell” means. Thus, he understood that the scientists have got his wife. She is still alive in a lab and they have been doing research on her for twenty-five years. And now they need to test her children to check if they have cancer. Of course, it is not what the researcher said at all. Anyway, from that moment, the family got sucked in this globe of research they did not realize.

The creation of the book was especially important for Henrietta’s daughter. Deborah did not remember her mother; she was a baby when Henrietta passed away. She had at all times wanted to find out who her mammy was but nobody ever discussed Henrietta. Hence, when Deborah discovered that a part of her mammy was still living she became anxious to realize what that meant. At the same time, Deborah’s brothers did not care too much concerning the cells till they discovered there was huge capital involved. HeLa cells were the primary human biological materials ever purchased and sold that assisted in launching the multi-billion-dollar industry. Once Deborah’s brothers learned that some people were selling vials of their mother’s cells, and the family did not get any money, they got really angry. Henrietta’s family existed in poverty, and many of them cannot even afford health insurance. Therefore, they started a campaign to obtain a part of what they believed they were owed monetarily. Thus, the cells totally consumed their lives.

One of the lessons of the book is that there are humans behind each biological sample utilized in the lab. These people often have their own thoughts and feelings concerning what should occur to their tissues, but they are frequently left out of this equation. Today the medicine depends on tissue culture. Essential drugs, HIV tests, all vaccines – people would have none of that if it was not for researchers gathering cells from humans and cultivating them. However, instead of asserting we do not wish that to happen, we have to look at how it may occur in a way that every party involved is agreed with.


The woman’s name was Henrietta Lacks, however, researchers and scientists recognize her as HeLa. She was a poor black-skinned tobacco farmer whose cells – taken without her consent in 1951 – became the most crucial instrument in medicine, crucial for creating gene mapping, polio vaccine, cloning, in vitro fertilization, and so on. These cells have been purchased and sold by the millions, yet Henrietta is still nearly unknown, buried in an unmarked grave, and her family does not have enough money for health insurance.

The author of the book does not oppose tissue culture. She admits that HeLa has helped to expose the secrets of everything from aging to cancer. However, the author asserts that instead of opposing the tissue culture, people have to look at how it may take place in a way each party involved is agreed with.

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