New Privacy Agreement Marks Historic Moment in Bioethics

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The new privacy agreement between the family of Henrietta Lacks and the National Institutes of Health marks a historic moment in the field of bioethics -- but it still leaves many thorny questions unresolved.

When the 31-year-old Lacks died of cervical cancer more than 60 years ago, scientists removed some of her tumor cells for research. Since that time they've been shipped around the globe and used in thousands of studies. The problem is that she and her family were never asked permission.

Should Lacks' descendents get compensation for the fruits of future studies? How strong a say should they have regarding how Lacks' genome is used?

Host Stephanie Martin discusses the case with Hank Greely, the director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University and the Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law.


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