Here is the latest in this series.
Standing athwart science, yelling "whoa,"* often appears to be the favorite default activity of many folks who get involved with bioethics. Today the New York Times has published an op-ed in this genre of bioethical handwringing. It's by Rebecca Skloot, author of the best-selling The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. In her book, Skloot details the how cells taken in 1951 from a tumor that eventually killed Baltimore resident Henrietta Lacks became the first immortal human cell line and one of the most widely used in biomedical research. Lacks nor any of her relatives were asked for permission to use the HeLa cells derived from her cervical cancer for research.
Which leads to the question, "why would she, or her family, be so possessive of the cancer cells that killed her?" I might understand if they were so driven by vengeance that they wanted to burn everything associated with it. Not condone, but understand. Sadly, that's not how bioethics works. Read the article for the depressing conclusion.