March 8, 2012
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has been deemed one of the best non fiction books this year. The subject of the book, Henrietta Lacks, was a poor, black tobacco farmer whose cells were used, with out her authorization nor her knowledge, to further many advancements in modern medicine. Henrietta Lacks cells, name HE LA, were used to create the Polio vaccine, gene mapping, and in-vitro fertilization, among many other advancements. Her family was not aware of the use of Henrietta's cells until the 1970's when they were contacted to have testing done on their cells to have further research done on the HE LA cells. This raised many concerns over the ethics maintained, or lack thereof, by the medical community surrounding the HE LA cells. The book explores the bioethics, and of course the legal battles over informed consent.
The Union Tribune announced that the Son of Henrietta Lacks will be speaking on March 13 at the California Center for the Arts at 340 N. Escondido from 6:30-9 pm. The program, "A conversation with Sonny Lacks" requires a ticket for entry however the admission is free. To enquire about tickets please visit csusm.edu/commonread/sonnylacksform.html. The talk is bound to discuss the ethical issues surrounding medicine, as well as the family's thoughts on the lack of compensation on Henrietta's behalf to honor her many enhancement to modern medicine.