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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Let's just consider the story: Henrietta Lacks

Hi Readers,

While reading the book on my iPad I am able to make notes, highlight, and bookmark passages from each book.  The following are some of my notes and why I marked them. Quotes are in red - my comments in black.

Cliff was showing Rebecca around the cemetery where many graves were unmarked.  'Used to be we'd mark them graves with a rock so we could find em, " Cliff told me. But the cemetery got cleaned out one time with a bulldozer so that pretty much cleared those rocks on away.  First off this reminded me of my grandfather's bones which lie somewhere unknown.  The cemetery was moved.  Then it seemed so sweet that still Cliff knew his ancestors were buried there and it was important to him.

As HeLa grew like crabgrass in laboratories around the world a virologist named Chester Southam had a frightening thought: what if Henrietta's cancer cells could infect the scientists working on them?   Then again why couldn't they infect humanity in an adverse way and what if we really aren't in control of experimental biologic elements?   What if these errant cells take over humanity?

There is a quote from a magazine Science 85 which we subscribed to although I remember every years it changed it's name to include the year.  I remember it back when it was called Science '79.  I got a chuckle out of that since we quote that magazine sometimes to each other.

The debate over the commercialization of human biological materials always comes back to one fundamental point" like it or not, we live in a market driven society and science is part of that market.    If a company and their research teams can't make money they won't do the research so is there a need for national research?  Then that cuts off the free market.  Deeply intriguing questions without good answers for me.  I think this is what is described as a conundrum?

And two questions from the study guide:
#6 This is a story with many layers .....  It certainly is an one that will challenge my thoughts for many years to come.
#11  Deborah says, ' but i always have thought it was strange, if our mather cells done so much for medicine, how come her family can't afford to see no doctors?  Don't make no sense."  Yeah, so much of this story don't make sense when it comes to the humanity of it but then there is the science of it and it's all twisted and turned - like cancer cells.....

Happy Reading til next time,

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