Monday, February 22, 2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


Here's the blurb:

  • Hardcover: 384 pages

  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 1400052173

  • ISBN-13: 978-1400052172



  • Here's the blurb:
    Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

    Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave. Her family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.
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