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Who Owns Our Cells and Tissues

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Biological sciences develop rapidly nowadays, and there is no wonder that any result in scientific researches is of great importance to the humanity. There are such complex illnesses like cancer and AIDS that need solutions in the ways of fighting with these diseases. Microbiology and scientists that deal with human cells and tissues try to find the most appropriate treatment for the illnesses, working with the materials that only human body can provide them with. Thus, it is quite reasonable that a legal issue arises at this point about the rights of scientists and people whose materials are in work and under the investigation process during the research work of medicals.

It is hard to tell, whether it is totally a question of medicine or law, but it is extremely important and needs discussion and, what is more, the decision is necessary for both parts of this process. Though this is not the question of contemporary science, for the first time it happened to a woman named Henrietta Lacks whose cells were used to produce the so-called immortal cell line that helped to create vaccines. The doctor who worked over her case and used her cells pointed that it was the most notable achievement of his life. Using the cells of the tumor that was removed from Henrietta’s body he managed to create the immortal line of cells that he called after the woman HeLa Cell. Henrietta was under the treatment of Dr. Gey who was the inventor of this important product, and he presented the sample of the HeLa Cell immortal line as a proof of his achievement. However, he never considered it necessary to inform the owner of the material he used in his research. Henrietta Lacks died, but due to materials taken from her body medicine became one step closer to the solution to many illnesses in the future. Neither Henrietta nor her relatives ever came to know about that fact, and the problem emerges whether it is necessary for people to know about their own cells and tissues and give permission to medical workers to use their materials. Nowadays a lot of medical workers use this technology to produce vaccines to many contemporary diseases and cure them using the scientific idea and technology of treatment that emerged in the 1951 thanks to the cells taken from Henrietta Lacks. The questions of whether it is fully doctors’ prerogative to decide whether to announce these facts or not is discussable since the laws concerning this sphere are quite obscure. People may be worried about the procedures that may be conducted over their cells and tissues. Therefore, the most reasonable solution of this problem is to establish an open relationship between patients and medical workers and their actions realized on the cells and tissues that belong to other people. One more important point is that people should know and probably be proud if their cells can help the humanity to fight some diseases that have been incurable for a long time.  The only solution to this problem is to inform people about all the procedures that may be conducted to their cells and or tissues. But, at the same time, people may always say ‘no’ and it may close the door to solutions and innovations in the sphere of medical issues.

The story of Henrietta Lacks - a common woman whose materials were used to help many people in the future - will always be the most memorable and discussable case in the sphere of investigations among the medical workers and in the biological science in general. The conclusion is that cooperation and trust between patients and doctors should become widely practiced as it will help the humanity in the future, because the friendship, trust and cooperation between people may help in saving the future for everyone.

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