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Reflection and Examination of the Injustice that Occurred to Henrietta Locke

Henrietta Locke was born in the family of Eliza (1886-1924) and John Randall Pleasant (1881-1969) under the name of Loretta. The circumstances, under which she changed her name to Henrietta, remained unknown. Her mother died during childbirth during the tenth pregnancy, and the father, realizing that he could not support his family, moved to Clover (Virginia), where he sheltered the children in the families of relatives. Henrietta lived in the house of her grandfather Tommy Locke.

April 10, 1941 Henrietta married her cousin David Locke (1915-2002), who also lived in her grandfather’s house ever since she moved there. And the wedding took place after the appearance of the first two children, the eldest of whom was born when Henrietta was 14 years old. In late 1941, the couple moved to Maryland. Four months after the birth of the last child, Henrietta began to detect strange discharge in her underwear and on February 1, 1951, she applied to Johns Hopkins Hospital. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and eight months later, despite surgical intervention and radiotherapy, she died at the age of 31.

During Henrietta’s stay in the hospital, her attending physician sent the cells of her tumor ( biopsy ) for analysis to George Gey, the head of the laboratory for tissue cells research at the hospital. It turned out that the cells named for the acronym name Henrietta Lacks – HeLa , have a number of unique abilities. They multiplied twice as fast as cells from normal tissues, and they had a program to suppress growth after a certain number of divisions – they became immortal.

Such a cell line has made a furore in the world of medicine and biology, especially after it turned out that the cells are able to survive even the mailing mail than Gay was actively engaged in. Henceforth, scientists have the world’s first stable and even eternal cell line that adequately imitates the essence of the human body. Now it was possible to carry out experiments and experiments on a homogeneous cell line, which allowed considering their results as reliable and reproducible in other laboratories, and the cells did not die until the end of the experiment, which often occurred with other cell lines. The HeLa cells led to the immense development of molecular biology in the last third of the 20th century. Without them, there would not be many drugs, including polio vaccines. Cells flew into space (the first time – in December 1960). They are exploring cancer, AIDS, exposure to radiation and toxic substances, as well as many other things. Coincidentally, George Gay announced the beginning of a new era in medical research on the same day that Henrietta died.George Gay for a long time remained the only one who knew the origin of the cells, but believed that confidentiality issues did not allow him to disclose the patient’s name. Thus, the Locke family did not know that the Henrietta cells had revolutionized medicine. In 1970, George Gay died.

By this time, a problem arose: due to imperfect at the time standards of sterility and techniques for working with cell cultures, it turned out that many other cell cultures from other types of tissues, including breast and prostate cells. These cells were contaminated with more aggressive and enduring HeLa cells , which, as it turned out, are capable of moving in the air with dust particles or on insufficiently washed hands. In the hope of solving problems through genotyping, one of the groups of scientists found Henrietta’s relatives and asked them to give them DNA samples to map out the genes. Then the name of the donor became known.

The question arose about compensation for the use of HeLa cells without the consent of the donor, but all requests remained unsatisfied: the respondents are no longer alive. Henrietta Locke was buried without a tombstone in the family cemetery in Halifax County, Virginia . Its exact place of burial is unknown, although the family believes that she is buried at the feet of her mother’s grave. In 2010, Dr. Roland Patillo placed a tombstone in the form of a book on the grave.

It is important here to examine and discuss medical ethics emerging out of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. From perusing and tuning in to study of book of author Rebecca Skloot, and from analysis, it has been realized that medical ethics were particularly at the forefront of her thoughts amid the ten years it took her to make the book. In the event that someone read the book, reader will see that she was additionally extremely worried that she not be simply one more exploiter of the Lacks family. That is one reason remarks, for example, this one are exasperating and in the meantime not so much irritating. It features the measure of doubt scientific community has managed to bank.

This is important to note that Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman who passed on of cervical tumor in the 1950s and whose disease cells, taken without her express assent, wound up a standout amongst the most critical apparatuses of present day science.)

We’ve all profited from look into made conceivable by Henrietta Lacks and incalculable others whose names have been overlooked. The measure of doubt we’ve saved money with general society throughout the years is impressive, and will set aside a long opportunity to moderate. Be that as it may, there are numerous motivations to endeavor to enhance our trust accounting report, not simply the slightest of which is our own self intrigue. It may, how about we move down a bit and get somewhat more profound into how we comprehend medical ethics.

Ethics are a method for understanding our conduct toward each other. It’s not an arrangement of tenets which one can essentially confirm and get an “I’m Ethical!” sticker. Furthermore, ethics change as our esteems as a public change. In the same way as other things in the public eye, what is considered ethical is regularly a matter of point of view, with riches and benefit frequently making a specific arrangement of presumptions (or making blinders), however one of the objectives of ethics is to make methods for identifying with each other that consider “the other”. Ethics that are controlled by or advantage just a single gathering are not extremely valuable.

Henrietta Lacks was dealt with when medical ethics were unique. Certain esteems were at that point imperative, including tolerant secrecy, however were seen much contrastingly then now, and connected distinctively to various gatherings. Our cutting edge comprehension of the harmony between quiet Autonomy and medical Paternalism has moved extensively. Very few decades back, it was accepted that the doctor realized what was best for the patient, and the patient did not take an interest in basic leadership as well as was regularly not given critical data about their condition.

Practically speaking this is an exceptionally troublesome adjusts to strike. No patient can have an indistinguishable viewpoint from the doctor (and the other way around). The most medically learned patient, tossed into the debilitated part, might have to some degree weakened judgment. Individuals come to doctors since we are specialists and they need our assessment (in any event under the best of conditions). While we should not settle on choices for our patients, we should judge how much direction they need and the amount they need, and enable them to settle on choices that advantage them. This ought to be done in a perfect world with the possibility of the patient’s Autonomy unequivocal in the reasoning of the doctor.

In the case of Henrietta Lacks, her Autonomy was damaged, at any rate by present day definitions. She had minimal decision as to where she looked for mind (because of both financial matters and prejudice), and her care was conveyed with little contribution from her. She was not knowledgeable, and imparting to her the points of interest of her care would have taken a considerable measure of work, which would have profited her. The disease cells, which went ahead to wind up the HeLa cell culture were not just a result of her treatment. They were not extra from surgery intended to help her. They were examples taken unequivocally (to the doctors) for research, and this ought to have been imparted to her. She ought to have been given the choice of declining the technique. (See here for a dialog of the assent given by Mrs. Lacks.)

When helping guide individuals through critical wellbeing choices we should remember our objectives. Express in present day medical ethics are the objectives of Beneficence and nonnonmaleficence, that is, helping the patient and making an effort not to hurt them. These objectives, and that of Autonomy, are frequently in strife. In endeavoring to enable a patient to mend and keep their passing, we may suggest a specific conduct, for instance, a pill. Notwithstanding when the patient unmistakably comprehends the dangers and advantages of the pharmaceutical, they may even now decay it, and in light of the fact that we esteem understanding Autonomy, we acknowledge this. We for the most part acknowledge it despite the fact that we see it as meddling with Beneficence. In any case, the guideline of Autonomy may request that we enable patients to decide for themselves what they think about accommodating, and regardless of how insane it might appear to doctors, a patient may decay a treatment we think about important.

Autonomy: In the case of Henrietta Lacks, the doctors without a doubt felt they were acting to help her, and examines felt they were acting to help humankind. Yet, Lacks and her family did not feel a similar way. The manners by which the doctors and society overall managed Henrietta and whatever remains of the Lacks family neglected to propel their poise, and neglected to furnish them with Justice, two more present day medical ethics.

The individuals who contend this is all unsettled would be astute to remember their own particular selfintrigue. Jeremy SingerVine talks about this at, finishing up:

Assent at last speeds us toward revelation and cures by boosting logical trust inside the groups that those specialists fill in as well as rely on.

The way that Lacks kicked the bucket an unpleasant passing might possibly have been moderated by more ethical conduct. In any case, the misery of her family unquestionably would have. This is the place ethics can likewise get somewhat troublesome.

Understanding Autonomy, Beneficence, and so on requires endeavoring to comprehend someone else’s viewpoint. This is, exceptionally troublesome for some. A remark from Ed Yong’s blog raises one of these issues (and is common from what I’ve seen on the web):

Paying individuals for blood/tissue gifts is a terrible point of reference to set, a great many people are content with the information that they’ve helped medical look into. Furthermore, lets not overlook that had she declined authorization for her cells to be utilized at that point research would have been deferred yet somebody elses cells would have been refined and we wouldn’t have this discussion. (Accentuation mine, PAL)

What “a great many people” would be content with is an intriguing suspicion, one which might possibly be valid, however what is critical in pharmaceutical isn’t exactly what “the vast majority” need, yet what the individual sitting before you needs. While society’s needs may have been served by Mrs. Lacks, they were not served in a way that saved her respect and Autonomy. Not exclusively is an utilitarian contention ethically offensive, it’s invalid, as the cells and resulting disclosures did not rely upon mishandling Mrs. Lacks.

Henrietta Lacks has served society long after her demise through the automatic gift of her tumor cells. With the distribution of her story, she has included another measurement of administration, one in which we can lift our talk of medical ethics.

Henrietta laks is the first and only immortal person

An involuntary contribution of Henrietta Locke to medicine is invaluable: the cells left after the end of her death, for more than half a century, have been saved by human destinies. HeLa cells, photographed electron microscope (increase approximately a thousand times). Posthumous feats of living cells

In biomedical studies and in the development of new types of treatment, the culture of human cells grown in the laboratory is often used. Among the many cell lines, one of the most famous is HeLa. These cells, which mimic the human body in vitro (“in vitro”), are “eternal” – they can be eternally shared, the research data with their application are accurately reproduced in various laboratories.

On their own surface, they carry a fairly universal set of receptors, which allows them to be used to study the action of various substances, from simple inorganic to proteins and nucleic acids; they are unpretentious in cultivation and perfectly tolerate frost and conservation.

Henrietta Locke

Henrietta Locke was a beautiful black American. She lived in the small town of Turner in South Virginia with her husband and five children. On February 1, 1951, Henrietta went to the Johns Hopkins Hospital – she was disturbed by the unusual discharge that she sometimes found on her underwear. The medical diagnosis was terrible and ruthless – cervical cancer.

Eight months later, ignoring radiotherapy and surgery, she died. She was 31 years old.

As long as Henrietta lay in the military hospital of Hopkins, the treating doctor sent the tumor cells obtained by biopsy to a study by George Gay, the head of the tissue tissue study laboratory at the Hopkins Military Hospital. At that time, the cultivation of cells outside the body was only at the stage of formation, and the main problem was the inevitable death of cells – after the completion of a certain number of divisions, the entire cell line was killed.

It turned out that the cells labeled “HeLa” (the names of Henrietta and the acronym Locke) multiplied much more rapidly than cells from ordinary tissues. In addition, the malignant change made these cells immortal – they have disconnected the program of suppressing growth at the end of a certain number of divisions. In vitro so that it does not happen before with any other cells.

This opened up unprecedented opportunities in biology.

Indeed, under no circumstances before this time, the researchers could not calculate the results obtained on cell cultures, entirely accurate: all tests were carried out on heterogeneous cell lines, which eventually died – from time to time, in addition, before it was possible to take any results . At this very moment, scientists became owners of the first stable and also eternal (!) Cell line, which adequately imitates the properties of the organism.

And at a time when HeLa cells were found to be able to survive in addition to being mailed, Gay sent them to his employees around the country. It is not so long to wait for the demand for HeLa cells to grow, and they were replicated in laboratories in the world. They became the first “template” cell line.

So it turned out that Henrietta died just on that day, at a time when George Gay was speaking in front of the television cameras, holding a test tube with its cells. He announced that the era of new opportunities in the search for medicines and medical and biological studies began.

Because of what its cells are so serious?

And he was right. The cell line, similar in all laboratories of the world, allowed to soon acquire and independently confirm more and more of these. It is possible to say boldly that the huge leap of molecular biology at the end of the last century was due to the possibility of culturing cells in vitro. The Henrietta Locke cells became the first immortal human cells that were ever grown on an unnatural nutrient medium.

HeLa trained researchers to cultivate many second lines of cancer cells. And despite the fact that now the priority in this area is shifting towards the cultures of cells of ordinary tissues and induced pluripotent stem cells (for the discovery of the way of returning cells of an adult organism to an embryonic state, the Japanese scientist Signa Yamanaka took the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 2012) However, cancer cells remain the accepted standard in biomedical studies. The main advantage of HeLa is uncontrollable growth on simple nutrient media, which allows for large-scale studies with a minimum of costs.

Since the death of Henrietta, Locke cells of her tumor have been continuously used to study the molecular patterns of the development of a wide variety of diseases, as well as AIDS and cancer, for toxic effects of substances and radiation studies, the compilation of a huge genetic number and maps of second scientific problems. In the world of biomedicine, HeLa cells have become as familiar as cups and laboratory rat Petri rats. In December 1960, HeLa cells first flew into space in the Soviet satellite.

In addition, the scale of the experiments conducted by Soviet geneticists in space is now striking. The results demonstrated that HeLa feels great not only under terrestrial conditions, but also in zero gravity.

Without cells of the HeLa line, the development of the polio vaccine created by Jonas Solck would be unworkable. By the way, Salk was so confident in the safety of the vaccine (a weakened poliovirus) that, in confirmation of the reliability of his own medicine, he injected the vaccine to himself, his wife and three children.

Since that time, HeLa has also been used for cloning (preliminary tests on the transplantation of cell nuclei before cloning of the famous Dolly sheep were conducted on HeLa), for working out the methods of thousands and artificial insemination of the second studies (some of them are given in the table).

In addition to science

The personality of Henrietta herself, Locke for a long time was not advertised. For Gaia’s physician, it goes without saying that the origin of HeLa cells was not a secret, but he believed that confidentiality in this matter is a priority, and for many years the Locke family did not know that Henrietta’s cells became famous throughout the earth. The mystery was revealed only after the death of the physician Gaea in the first half of the 70s of the XX century.

Note that the techniques and standards of sterility with the cell lines at that time were only emerging, and some inaccuracies emerged only after decades. So with the HeLa cells, after a quarter of a century, scientists learned that many of the cell cultures from other types of tissues, including prostate cancer and milk cells, were infected with more aggressive and enduring HeLa cells.

It turned out that HeLa will be able to move with dust particles in the air, or not enough washed hands and get accustomed to the cultures of the second cells. This caused a huge scandal. In the hope of solving the problem by genotyping (sequencing – full reading of the genome – at that time until it was only planned as a grandiose international project), one group of scientists tracked down Henrietta’s relatives and asked for DNA samples from the family to map the genes.

So secret and it became obvious.

By the way, Americans still experience more about the fact that the Henrietta family has not compensated for the use of HeLa cells without the consent of the donor. Now the family lives in not very good prosperity, and material assistance would be very welcome. But all the requests rest on a dead wall – there are no defendants in the distant past, and the Medical Academy and other scientific structures do not want to discuss this topic predictably.

On March 11, 2013, a new publication was added to the flames, where the results of the full sequence of the genome of the HeLa cell line were presented. Again, the experience was accomplished without the consent of Henrietta’s descendants, and at the end of short-term ethical disputes, full access to genomic information was allowed only for specialists. However, the full genomic sequence HeLa is of great importance for the work, allowing the use of the cell line in future genomic projects.

Real immortality?

The malignant tumor that killed Henrietta made her cells possibly immortal. Did this lady want immortality? And did she take it? In case you think about it, there is a fantastic feeling – a part of a living person, artificially reproduced, suffers millions of tests, “tastes” all the drugs before they get into animal testing, gets irritated to the very basics of molecular biologists around the world

Needless to say, all this has nothing to do with “destiny after the end of life”. It is rather stupid to think that in the cells of HeLa, constantly tormented by insatiable scientists, there is at least some part of the soul of the unhappy young lady. Moreover, these cells can be considered only human partially.

In the nucleus of each HeLa cell, from 76 to 82 chromosomes due to the transformation occurring during malignant transformation (ordinary human cells contain 46 chromosomes), and this polyploidy sometimes provokes controversy about the suitability of HeLa cells as a model of human physiology. It was also suggested to isolate these cells in a separate, human species called Helacyton gartleri, in honor of Stanley Gartler, who studied these cells, but this is not really discussed now.

However, researchers constantly remember the limitations that should be borne in mind. First, HeLa, disregarding all transformations, still remain human cells: all their biological molecules and genes correspond to human ones, and molecular interactions are almost in all cases analogous to the chemical roads of healthy cells.

Secondly, polyploidy makes this line more convenient for genomic studies, since the amount of genetic material in one cell is increased, and the results are more clear and contrast. Thirdly, the widespread use of cell lines throughout the world makes it easy to repeat the tests of employees and apply those published as the foundation for their own studies.

Having established the main facts on the HeLa model (and everyone does not forget that this is at least ergonomic, but only a model of the organism), scientists try to repeat them on more adequate model sets. As you can see, HeLa and similar cells are the foundation for the whole of science and now. And, not paying attention to ethical and moral disputes, now I want to honor the memory of this lady, because her unintentional contribution to medicine is invaluable: the cells left at the end of her, saved and saved more fates than any doctor can do.

We thank for assistance in preparing the article

Four stages of experience

Now in pharmacology and molecular biology, in most cases, the following stages are used:

1. HeLa (or every other laboratory cell line).

2. Untransformed short-lived cell lines – skin cells, blood cells, etc. Work with them at times harder, they soon die, but if the experience is worked out on HeLa, scientists know what and where to look for and do not waste time on a wide search.

3. Model organisms – mice, rats, monkeys. Here, experiments last for months and stand on the order of magnitude more expensive. But this is a necessary stage before testing potential drugs or studying the circumstances of human diseases in humans.

4. Multistage clinical studies in humans.

Cell record holders

Immortality of HeLa cells is associated with the consequences of infection with HPV18 human papillomavirus. The infection caused triploidy of many chromosomes (the formation of their three copies instead of a simple pair) and the splitting of some of them into fragments. In addition, as a result of the infection, the sequence of cell growth regulators, such as telomerase genes (cell death regulator) and c-Myc (a regulator of the synthesis activity of many proteins) increased.

Such inimitable (and random) transformations have made HeLa cells the record for stability and growth rate, moreover among the second lines of cancer cells, which today number a couple of hundred. In addition, the resulting transformations of the genome have been very stable and remain unchanged in the laboratory for all past years.



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