[-empyre-] Cellular Risk

Renate Ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Fri Nov 9 08:30:26 EST 2012

Bishnu wrote:
"In Hela, then, we glimpse the two faces of risk culture. The one, a
> controversial and illicit scientific risk that potentiates the common good;
> and the other, a predatory encroachment on human biopotentials for
> individual glory and institutional profit."

Dear all,
Bishnu raises two pretty startling outcomes. I just did a quick wiki
search to get some background information on Henrietta Lacks immortal
cell line HeLa and was  awestruck by the medical progress that has
been accomplished by the exploitation of her cells:
-the Salk vaccine
-AIDS research
-the effects of radiation and toxic substances
-gene mapping
- testing how parvo virus infects cells of humans, HeLa, dog, and cats
-viruses such as the Oropouche virus (OROV)
-study of the expression of the papillomavirus E2 and apoptosis
-study canine distemper virus' ability to induce apoptosis in cancer cell lines
-cancer studies including those involving sex steroid hormones such as
Estradiol,    -estrogen, and estrogen receptors along with estrogen
like compound such as Quercetin
-effects of flavonoids and antioxidants with estradiol on cancer cell
investigation the phytochemical compounds and the fundamental
mechanism of the anticancer activity of the ethanolic extract of mango
-in vitro cancer research using cell lines
-used to define cancer markers in RNA, and have been used to establish
an RNAi Based Identification System and Interference of Specific
Cancer Cells

Not to condone the use of Henrietta Lack's bio material but was
wondering what you thought about the tension between the risk culture
and the medical outcomes above. How do we ethically balance risk
culture with potential medical advances that save lives? On the other
hand how do we handle cell contamination and the problem that HeLa
strain cells have infiltrated into other cell strains?

Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
Cornell University
Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office #420
Ithaca, NY  14853
Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
URL:  http://www.renateferro.net
Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net

Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space

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