2-19-10: When Your Cells Are Removed from Your Body, Are They Still Yours?
In the first half of today’s show, Tom Hall talked to Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Back in 1951, when Mrs. Lacks was in Johns Hopkins Hospital suffering from cervical cancer, doctors removed some of her tissue…without her consent. She died soon after, but her cancerous cells kept multiplying. Without her family’s knowledge, the cells were circulated around the research world, where they led to a cure for polio and other diseases.
While writing the book, Rebecca Skloot consulted with Ruth Faden, director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. Sheilah talks to Dr. Faden about the many ethical questions raised by the “HeLa” cell story that resonate to this day.
Hear Dr. Faden discuss the role of race in the controversy over Henrietta Lacks’s cells: Read Dr. Faden’s February 12 Baltimore Sun op-ed, “‘Immortal’ cells, moral issues”
See dates when Rebecca Skloot will be appearing in the Baltimore area between today and Tuesday, February 23.