200 words 2 references within 5 years (prefer nursing journals or peer reviewed only)
Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman whose cancer cells were the source of the HeLa cell line, one of the most important cell lines in medical research. HeLa cells are “immortalized cells.” Immortalized cells lines are important because they will reproduce indefinitely under specific conditions. The HeLa immortal cell line was vital for creating the polio vaccine, cloning (i.e., Dolly the sheep), gene mapping (i.e., the Human Genome Project) and more.
Mrs. Lacks was the unwitting source of these cells when her tumor was biopsied in 1951 during treatment for cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. Her cells were then cultured by George Otto Gey, who created the cell line known as “HeLa” (i.e., Henrietta Lacks). Consent was NOT obtained to culture her cells, nor was she (or her family) ever compensated for the use of the cells despite the fact that the HeLa cell line revolutionized modern medicine!
As we examine ethics for nursing research and evidence-based practice, please consider and present examples of human experimentation that have occurred during the history of medical research. Have these projects resulted in beneficial outcomes for society? Can human experimentation be justified when the greater good of society is at stake?