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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot Book
by Rebecca Skloot

Book Comments & Discussion

Abagail
A friend recommended I read this book and once I started to read it... I understood why. Cells taken from Henrietta Lacks's body without her knowledge were used to form the HeLa cell line, which has been used extensively in medical research. As medical records show, Mrs. Lacks began undergoing radium treatments for her cervical cancer. This was the best medical treatment available at the time for this terrible disease. A sample of her cancer cells retrieved during a biopsy were sent to Dr. George Gey's nearby tissue lab. For years, Dr. Gey, a prominent cancer and virus researcher, had been collecting cells from all patients who came to The Johns Hopkins Hospital with cervical cancer, but each sample quickly died in Dr. Gey's lab. What he would soon discover was that Mrs. Lacks' cells were unlike any of the others he had ever seen: where other cells would die, Mrs. Lacks' cells doubled every 20 to 24 hours.

These days the cells are known as HeLa. HeLa cells were in high demand and put into mass production. They were mailed to scientists around the globe for "research into cancer, AIDS, the effects of radiation and toxic substances, gene mapping, and countless other scientific pursuit."
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Storyline

Now an HBO® Film starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.
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by Abagail (20 Books)
May 2018
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