The new Oprah movie about Henrietta Lacks reopens a big scientific debate image

Vox, April 24, 2017
Julia Belluz, quoting Holly Fernandez Lynch (Executive Director)


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From the article:

[...] Holly Fernandez Lynch, executive director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, emphasized that the benefits to society in terms of advancing knowledge and medical discovery are much greater than the risks to any individual, such as somehow re-identifying the source of the anonymous tissue. 

“There haven’t been any examples of nefarious re-identification of specimens,” Lynch argues. “And even if there were, the way to go about that wouldn’t be to demand consent but to go after the people nefariously trying to re-identify and use information against you.”

Lynch and Joffe also point out that the Lacks case is more the exception than the rule: It’s very rare for a single person’s cells to make such a large contribution to science. (A lot of discovery these days is based on researchers looking at many people’s cells in aggregate.) [...] 

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bioethics health law policy holly fernandez lynch human subjects research