The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks- The book

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a book about the imbalance between the needs of medical science and the individual impacts of medical ethics (or the lack thereof). At its heart is the story of a woman—whose fatal cancer led to some of the major scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century—and the family who suffered through her death, then found out 30 years later about her afterlife in a petri dish.

Henrietta Lacks
was a black woman, born on land left to her ancestors by the former slave owners who'd fathered them. She married, moved to Baltimore, had five children. When she was 31, Henrietta died, the victim of a frighteningly fast-moving cervical cancer. That was 1951.

But not all of Henrietta had been laid to rest. Cancer cells, taken before and after her death by doctors at Johns Hopkins, had become the first human cells to grow and thrive in the lab, living and multiplying indefinitely in test tubes around the world. Known as the HeLa cell line, little parts of Henrietta Lacks helped develop the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, in vitro fertilization and more. Read more

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