S4L Book Club – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

What do you think the implications were when the world discovered in 1976 that one of the most important tools in medicine came from a black woman? What would be a similar example in today’s world?

Categories: Reading

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  1. Both Becca and I didn’t think there was a reaction to Henrietta’s race–at least not presented in the book.

    The HeLa cells were a big deal to researchers and the Lacks family, but I’m not sure they were a big deal to the public. Sensational news about human/animal hybrids got attention, but not the cells themselves.

    I think issues of bio-ethics are becoming increasingly important, but that the public is still pretty removed from them, with only those directly touched by the issues very aware and concerned by them. Personally, I feel pretty removed from them and quite ignorant. I think we have to know about the research to be aware of the ethical issues, and I’m not up on current research.

    Hmm…I’ll bet The Teaching Company has courses on bio-ethics.

    Does anyone here have personal experience with bio-ethical issues?