Henrietta Lacks By CONNER JACKSON

Henrietta Lacks went to Johns Hopkins hospital, in the early 1950s, to diagnose pain and bleeding in her abdomen. She was diagnosed with an unusually aggressive strain of cervical cancer. The cancer spread all throughout her body leaving tumors on almost all of her major organs. Henrietta received radiation treatment regularly but died at the age of 31 on October 4, 1951.
Cells were taken from her body without her knowing and were used to start the HeLa cell line. HeLa cells have been used in numerous medical researches since then. HeLa cells are Henrietta Lacks' cervical cancer cells. They were the first type of human cancer cells to be cultured continuously for experiments. He La was dispersed around the world and was part of many medical studies that has benefited all of mankind. For example, they were used to help create a vaccine for polio, and helped scientists discover that humans have 46 chromosomes, not 8.
Henrietta Lacks was born in Roanoke, Virginia in 1920. Her name was originally Loretta Pleasant; at some point she changed it to Henrietta. She grew up with her grandfather in a log cabin that used to be slave quarters.
George Gey successfully cultured the first immortal cell line using cells from Henrietta's cervix in 1951. That immortal cell line has been used extensively in medical research. Because he failed to inform Henrietta and her family about him taking samples of her cells, they did not gain any recognition until many years later.
Scientists used HeLa cells to help develop the vaccine for polio shortly after Henrietta's death in 1952. Scientists were able to run very many tests on the cells because there was an almost unlimited supply of them, and they were highly susceptible to the polio virus.
The term "informed consent" first appears in court documents in 1957. Informed consent is when appropriate information is given to a competent patient so that they may choose to accept or refuse treatment.
Stanley Gartler dropped the "HeLa bomb" and proposed that HeLa cells contaminated numerous cell lines in 1966. He discovered that around 18 cell lines were contaminated by HeLa. Any specific research done with those lines were then unreliable.
"Henrietta's cousins always said a bit of Henrietta died the day they sent Elsie away, that losing her was worse than anything else that happened to her." This quote shows how much Henrietta loved her daughter, Elsie. Henrietta endured severe pains for a long time before she died; however, those pains could not compare to the emotional pains she had when she lost Elsie. The emotional pain that she went through when Elsie was taken away was probably harder to deal with than the physical pain her cancer caused her. I chose this quote because, much like Henrietta with Elsie, I do not think I could make it on this Earth without the support of my family. I imagine Henrietta felt like she could not go on after her daughter was taken from her. Like a large piece of what was keeping her alive was ripped away from her grasp. This is extremely important to the book because it provides us with more of an outlook on Henrietta’s influencing, motherly personality that separates this book from other informative books about HeLa.


Created with images by Libertas Academica - "Figure 5" • skeeze - "hela cells cultured electron microscope" • CodonAUG - "BPAE cells" • opiado - "HeLa S3" • Joelk75 - "polio" • NIAID - "Immune-Labeled Specimens"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.