Posts Tagged ‘Henrietta Lacks’

Henrietta LacksHenrietta Lacks was a poor, young, black mother of five in rural Virginia. She was diagnosed at Johns Hopkins Hospital with cervical cancer. Dr. George Gey soon discovered “that Mrs. Lacks’ cells were unlike any of the others he had ever seen: where other cells would die, [her] cells doubled every 20 to 24 hours.”

This NPR story explains: “For the past 60 years Lacks’ cells have been cultured and used in experiments ranging from determining the long-term effects of radiation to testing the live polio vaccine. Her cells were commercialized and have generated millions of dollars in profit for the medical researchers who patented her tissue.”

These incredible cells— nicknamed “HeLa” cells, from the first two letters of her first and last names — “are used to study the effects of toxins, drugs, hormones, and viruses on the growth of cancer cells without experimenting on humans. They have been used… to study the human genome, to learn more about how viruses work.”

Rebecca Skloot is the author of the 2010 book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. She writes about the African-American woman who passed away on October 4, 1951, at the age of 31. Yet her cancer cells are one of the most important cell lines in medical research.

But Skloot also addresses “the collision between ethics, race, and medicine,” especially for Henrietta’s family, who, at the time of the book’s publication, could not afford health insurance. The writer founded The Henrietta Lacks Foundation in 2010, which has awarded more than 50 grants to many qualifying members of Henrietta Lacks’ immediate family for “health care and dental assistance, tuition and books, job training…” It has “also awarded education grants to the family members of the survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis Studies.”

And in June of 2018: “A lawyer representing the eldest son and two grandsons of Henrietta Lacks, whose ‘immortal cells’ have been the subject of a best-selling book, a TV movie, a family feud, cutting-edge medical research, and a multibillion-dollar biotech industry, announced … that she plans to file a petition seeking ‘guardianship’ of the cells.

“The question we are dealing with is ‘Can the cells sue for mistreatment, misappropriation, theft and for the profits earned without their consent?'”

For ABC Wednesday

voting.not
The $80 Million Fake Bomb-Detector Scam—and the People Behind It.

How the Photography of Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams Told the Story of Japanese American Internment.

John Scalzi on Hurricane Katrina, and poverty. “Being Poor,” Ten Years On.

The Truth of ‘Black Lives Matter’: “They are NOT asserting that black lives are more precious than white lives.”

Mr. Frog linked to Here’s How New Texas Public School Textbooks Write About Slavery.

No, Mount McKinley’s former and new name, “Denali,” does NOT mean “Black Power” in Kenyan. Or Swahili. Denali means “the great one” in the local Athabaskan language of Alaska.

Question: Why must we still talk about race? Answer: Twelve. And I Am a Racist.

Steve Cutts is a London-based illustrator and animator who uses powerful images to criticize the sad state modern life and society.

Is thyroid cancer the ‘good’ cancer? It doesn’t feel that way when you get it. Read the rest of this entry »

Just a reminder that you have only three more full days to enter my giveaway. Rules are on the sidebar, but basically, from now through July 3 at 11:59 EDT, everytime you comment to a post, assuming you haven’t commented already to that specific piece, gives you a chance at some prizes, including a complete DVD box set of The Dick van Dyke Show and a Michael Jackson greatest hits CD.
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Speaking of Michael Jackson: in honor of the anniversary of his death this past week, the full-length video of Thriller, performed with Legos.
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I KNEW there was a way to post something on Twitter and have it show up on Facebook, but couldn’t suss out the instructions. This really helped me. And, in fact, it was one of my Facebook friends who provided the link.
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Author Rebecca Skloot has interesting info about her best-selling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on her website, including audio, video and an excerpt. Read the rest of this entry »

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