AMERICAN CITIZENS AS GUINEA PIGS
By Kelleigh Nelson
June 20, 2010
It was probably about 1951 or 52 when I was just a little girl and was sitting at the kitchen table in our apartment in Chicago. My mom was reading the Chicago Tribune newspaper and often would read aloud to me as a child. I distinctly remember her reading an article to me that stated the federal government had sprayed a flu virus over the Rogers Park area of Chicago to see how the contamination worked on the population. It was a very small article in the back pages, and I remember my mother’s anger at reading it. I believe Americans have been experimented on for many, many decades, and I also believe it will get far worse with the coming Obamacare.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
In 1951 a 31 year old woman and mother of five by the name of Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer in Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Without her or her family’s permission, portions of her cancer cells were taken by her doctor prior to her treatment as well as after her death and during autopsy. Throughout our history, the poorer citizens, many of whom were black, were especially targeted for experimentation. Henrietta had two of the most virulent strains of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that cause cervical cancer. There are over 100 different strains affecting 90% of today’s sexually active population. Henrietta’s family did not learn of her cells being taken until over 20 years after her death.
Unlike normal cells which are extremely difficult to grow, the cancer cells from Henrietta grew exponentially. They are called the HeLa cell line, the first two letters from the patient’s name were used for cell lines back then. Henrietta’s cells have helped to conquer various illnesses with new drugs, helped create the polio vaccine, uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effect and have been bought and sold by the billions. There are so many of them now that they would wrap around the earth three times. They also easily contaminate other cell lines so their use is now in a sterile and controlled environment.