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When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

Created: 07/15/11

Replies: 18

Posted Jul. 15, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

Posts: 369

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When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

As a journalist, Skloot is careful to present the encounter between the Lacks family and the world of medicine without taking sides. What are your feelings about this? Does your opinion fall on one side or the other, or somewhere in the middle, and why?


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marthad

Join Date: 05/10/11

Posts: 25

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I know this is a cop-out but I can truly see both sides of this issue. There's no denying the good HeLa has done but I think the family does deserve some compensation.


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lorie

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 24

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I find myself sympathetic to the Lacks family feeling that they should have received some type of compensation for the commercial use of the cells. I was surprised when I was reading this that when I brought the subject up to my husband (who has a more scientific background than I), that he felt the cells were of no use to the Lacks family, and they were only valuable to the scientists who were able to utilize them.


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marthad

Join Date: 05/10/11

Posts: 25

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

Lorie-I think your husband has an interesting perspective about the worth of the cells. While they don't have intrinsic value to the family it does seem wrong for unrelated individuals should take the compete profit.


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dianel

Join Date: 07/16/11

Posts: 15

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I have to come down on the side of science. As a cancer patient I admit I'm biased. I've participated in clinical trials, and I'm being kept alive due to the actions of cancer patients before me. My tumor was biopsied and has become part the Baylor School of Medicine"s collection. From thousands of tissue samples donated before me have come some of my treatment plans.


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jop

Join Date: 07/16/11

Posts: 14

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I think that the Lacks family can benefit without any lessening of scientific freedom. The cells are "their" cells; somehow the research community must come to terms with this and come up with a formula that rewards the patient for his or her donation. The fact that their blood was drawn without proper consent being received is another reason that they deservve compensation. But in a larger way, I feel that science will benefit if the needs and sufferings of the Lacks family is finally recognized and financial compensation offered.


Posted Jul. 17, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
chetyarbrough.com

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 14

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

Sophie's choice? It is not a choice that needs to be made.


Posted Jul. 17, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sandeo

Join Date: 04/17/11

Posts: 12

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I am on the side of the family. Henrietta was taken advantage of and ever since her family has been as well. I don't know if you can put a financial number on feel at base, she was used the same as a lab animal. At the very least the family should never have to pay for their medical expenses again.


Posted Jul. 17, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gwendolyndawson

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 63

Expert

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I guess I don't see this as an either/or choice. Can't we have both? I'd like to think there is a good solution that will respect the family while allowing scientists the information/materials they need to do their work. In the case of Henrietta, her family was ignored and mistreated, but I think there is a better way to utilize people's cells for science without harming the family.


Posted Jul. 17, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marjoriea

Join Date: 06/14/11

Posts: 8

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I find myself coming down on the side of the Lacks family. Even though things were different then in terms of patient rights that is no excuse for the disregard of Henrietta and her family.


Posted Jul. 18, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
nancyo

Join Date: 07/18/11

Posts: 8

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

Wow. I am the lone stranger. I see this issue coming down on the side of science. The cells were put to immeasurably good uses, and probably saved countless numbers of lives. At the same time, if the doctors or others had only given the family some small bit of realistic information and explained how much good the HeLa cells were doing, it may have prevented all the later resentment and misunderstandings on the Lacks family's end.


Posted Jul. 18, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
melissaw

Join Date: 07/18/11

Posts: 2

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

Although there has been great knowledge gained from the use of Henrietta's cells, I feel it steps over the line to use someone's cells for scientific gain without informed consent. Choosing to donate your DNA, cells, body parts is one thing; but taking advantage of someone such as Henrietta and - down the line - her family, is disturbing.


Posted Jul. 18, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
alexandras

Join Date: 07/18/11

Posts: 7

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I can see how the Lacks family would be hurt by not knowing the cells were out there, however I do think that they were used for the greater good and therefore I fall on the side of science. What is upsetting is not that the Lacks weren't compensated, honestly, I don't think there should be a form of compensation, people give blood, marrow ect all of the time for the greater good, the upsetting thing is that they didn't know it was happening. And to me, that is the inherent problem. Someone should have sat down, really sat down, and explained to the family what her cells were being used for. As poor, uneducated people, they couldn't understand even the high level science that the doctors and researchers were saying to them.


Posted Jul. 20, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 16

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I think a line from the book provides the best answer to this question: "How you should feel about all this isn't obvious." While Skloot's comment is mainly directed to the right of an individual to their cells and the commercialization that results from them, I think it also applies to the question about Henrietta's family versus science. It's hard to argue with the dramatic strides made possible by her cells -- polio vaccine, AIDs research, and many many more. But it seems we should be compassionate and wise enough to serve both. It's too late for most of Henrietta's immediate family but can't we address this issue for go-forward scenarios? Perhaps all recipients of human samples should contribute a portion of their budget to fund a health care fund that would make low-cost or no-cost health care programs available to people whose cells are used for research? And, for advances of sizeable commercial nature, some profit participation...


Posted Jul. 25, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
karlas

Join Date: 10/21/10

Posts: 5

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

Science. As Rebecca Skloot pointed out in the Afterward of the book patenting or claiming ownership of cells or tissue is prohibitive to scientific research.


Posted Jul. 25, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marcias

Join Date: 07/25/11

Posts: 5

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I agree that this isn't an either/or choice. More than that I am curious that this request from the family came during a time of social retribution in this country. Programs like affirmative action,etc led to a climate that encouraged compensation in many areas.


Posted Aug. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Beth350

Join Date: 04/15/11

Posts: 64

Expert

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I don't believe I could pick one over the othere. The scientific use of the cells has been valuable for many people. However, the scientific and medical world did not treat Henrietta or her family with the care and respect that they deserve. The information about the cells should have been readily availbable and explained in lay-language so that these people didn't have to wonder if they were carriers of some terrible version of cancer or other disease. I see nothing wrong with using the cells, but everything wrong with misleading or misinforming the patient and her family.


Posted Aug. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
anneb

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 7

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I can't help but being on both sides. I see the advantage of science, the thousands of people who could be saved from the research, the new treatments, perhaps even a cure. But on the side of Henrietta, she shouldn't have been used without permission, she/her family should have been compensated, or at least let in on what was happening. It's a double edge sword, either way you could win or lose, but things happened the way they did, I just hope they can clean up the mess made.


Posted Oct. 12, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
suzanneb

Join Date: 05/21/11

Posts: 6

RE: When it comes to the use of Henrietta's cells, are you on the side of the Lacks family or of science?

I would be on the Lacks side. Henrietta was abused in the extreme. The doctors never told her a thing. She was completely ignorant of what they were doing to her and none of her family was informed about her illness. Towards the end she was in such serious pain all in the name of science research (?). I think not. She should have been treated with dignity and respect.


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