Genre : Non-Fiction
Published Year : 2010
Publisher : MacMillan
Page : 431 pages
Read : May-September 2015
Have you ever imagined if your body cells are still being used long after you’re dead? Henrietta Lacks lived in early 1900s and she died in 1952 because of cervical cancer. At that time when the word ‘chemotherapy’ had not even existed yet, not many people knew about cancer. Henrietta’s doctor took a little bit of her tumour cell and tried to culture it in the lab. Unexpectedly, the cell grew very quickly and uncontrollable.
Those cells even still keep growing after the owner died. Until now. HeLa is the most common type of cells used in medical science laboratories around the world. But, sadly people did not care about the source of that HeLa cells until around 1980s, which was roughly thirty years after Henrietta’s death.
I first heard about this book while I took a class about “Good Laboratory Practice” back then when I was completing my Master degree in Newcastle. My lecturer brought this book to the class, talking about how amazing is this book and that we can use it as our reference in doing a good laboratory practice. I tried to find this book anywhere, but could not find it. Luckily, my auntie gave this book as my birthday present last February. So, yeah finally I got a chance to read this amazing book.
How’s this book affect me? If you notice, it took me around 4 months to finish reading this book. I really enjoyed reading every sentence written in this book, from the very early pages until the end. Everything written in this book is so relatable with my field. I am working in medical science and has spent some years of my life being a scientist working in the lab. And I’m really familiar with HeLa cells.
The big question that tried to be exposed in this book is : Is it ethically acceptable when we take a tiny amount of human sample to be studied further for MEDICAL PURPOSE without providing any ETHICAL CONSENT FORM?
I recommend this book especially for people who are working in medical field. Actually I have my own opinion towards the pros & cons of this “ethical consent” issues, but I think that’s beyond the scope of this review post. I’m open for discussion if anyone of you also interested about the same topic.
We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.-ELIE WIESEL from The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code