Henrietta Lacks Kalyn Ethridge

After Henrietta's death, her cells went into mass production. Her cells were first used to help find a cure for polio. They were sold for $10 dollars a vial plus Air Express fees. Her cells were sent to other countries for research in cancer, radiation effects, and gene mapping. Some of her cells were also sent into outer space to test the effects of zero gravity on human cells. Today, her cells are sold for $200 to $10,000 a vial.

Henrietta's Diagnosis: Henrietta went to Hopkins on January 29, 1951 due to the discovery of a small knot on the ring of her cervix. Her doctor, Jones, examined her cervix and took a small sample. After returning three months later, she was diagnosed with Epidermoid carcinoma of the cervix, Stage 1. The cancer had grown at a remarkable rate since her last visit.
Immortal Cells: After Henrietta's first radium treatment, Mary discovered that her cells were growing at a very fast rate. She had to replace the dish they were growing in every morning due to the mythological growth rate. Gey told his close colleagues that he may have discovered the first immortal human cells.

Death: Henrietta went to the doctor numerous times before her death. She went through radiation treatment. She told her doctors that she felt as if the cancer was spreading all throughout her body, but they told her nothing was wrong. She claimed to have an ache in both sides of her body, but the doctors told her that there was no evidence of recurrence and to return in one month. She went to the doctor again two and a half weeks later claiming that her abdomen hurt and that she could barely urinate. The doctors gave her a catheter and sent her home. She returned three days later, and the doctors found a "stony hard" mass in her abdomen. An X-ray showed that this mass was "inoperable". Her radiation dose was increased and it burned the skin on her abdomen black. Soon, she came to stay at the hospital. New tumors appeared throughout her body nearly everyday. By September, tumors invaded her body and caused her intestines to become blocked. Her blood was full of toxins and she had to get transfusions from her cousins. Her suffering ended on October 4, 1951.

"She's the most important person in the world and her family living in poverty. If our mother is so important to science, why can't we get health insurance?" I chose this quote because it shows how unfair it is to her family because they never knew that Henrietta's cells were used in science until years after it happened. This was important in history because it shows how they have been living in poverty all this time when they could be getting some money from the cells that have been sold.


Created with images by skeeze - "hela cells bacteria germs" • ZEISS Microscopy - "HeLa-Kyoto cells from a 72h cell growth assay using ZEISS Celldiscoverer 7 with Autoimmersion"

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