HeLa Cells of Henrietta Lacks

"HeLa Cells of Henrietta Lacks" has finally been published. It has been slightly delayed but nonetheless the book on Henrietta Lacks and her amazing cells is finally out and is available on all Amazon stores. When Rebecca Skloot wrote her book "The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks" no one knew that her book will take the scientific world with storm. Her book has been the best seller and rightly so, it has highlighted to the world about untold prejudices black people had to suffer in the United States. Read more about Henrietta Lacks and her immortal cells in the new book "HeLa Cells of Henrietta Lacks".
HeLa Cells of Henrietta Lacks
HeLa Cells of Henrietta Lacks

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The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is the astonishing biography of a poor tobacco farmer whose cells, first grown in culture in 1951, are still ubiquitous in the laboratory world today. The author, Rebecca Skloot, dedicated nearly a decade to researching the science and, perhaps more interestingly, getting to know the Lacks family. Skloot is a science journalist whose name is familiar in the corridors of my own institution, the New York Academy of Sciences, because she did freelance work for us, writing about our scientific symposia. With this book, she presents an unforgettable story that reads like a novel.

Henrietta Lacks was a 29-year-old mother when doctors at Johns Hopkins diagnosed her with aggressive cervical cancer. At that time, Hopkins was the only hospital nearby that would admit and treat African American patients. Without her consent, as was commonly done in that time, doctors removed a sample of her cancerous tissue and gave it to a laboratory that had been trying for years to grow an immortalized human cell line. They named the cells HeLa, consistent with their practice of abbreviating the first and last names of the patient, and without informing her or her family put them in a dish.

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The famous Hela cells

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksRebecca Skloot showed early hints of her future vocation when confronted by a scientific mystery with an intriguing backstory at a community college in Portland, Ore. The then-16-year-old was taking a basic biology class and was told about the so-called HeLa cells, which had been alive since 1951 and been mysteriously growing in laboratories around the world. They've been used to uncover secrets of cancer, help develop a polio vaccine and even blasted off into space.

The future science writer was intrigued. Her science side was interested in the medical mystery behind why the cells continued to live for 60 years after the host died of cancer. Her writer side was interested in Henrietta Lacks, the poor southern tobacco farmer who had the cells taken from her without her permission in 1951. Her story was sad, topical and infuriating. Henrietta's tissues have generated billions, but she was buried in an unmarked grave in the tiny town of Clover, Va. Her descendants dants have often been unable to get access to health care in the U.S. Read more

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'Henrietta Lacks': A Donor's Immortal Legacy

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacksn 1951, an African-American woman named Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer. She was treated at Johns Hopkins University, where a doctor named George Gey snipped cells from her cervix without telling her. Gey discovered that Lacks' cells could not only be kept alive, but would also grow indefinitely.

For the past 60 years Lacks' cells have been cultured and used in experiments ranging from determining the long-term effects of radiation to testing the live polio vaccine. Her cells were commercialized and have generated millions of dollars in profit for the medical researchers who patented her tissue. Read More

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* Culture * Books * Science and nature The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

In old-fashioned museums you can see the unconscious benefactors of mankind, trapped in glass cases: the freaks and monsters of their day, the anomalies, sometimes skeletonised and entire, sometimes cut into parts and labelled. When we look at them, fascination and repulsion uneasily mixed, we bow our heads to their contribution to knowledge, but it is hard to locate their humanity. The thread of empathy has frayed and snapped. They have become objects, more stone than flesh: petrified, post-human.

Henrietta Lacks
is a medical specimen of quite another kind. No dead woman has done more for the living, and yet we can imagine her easily from her photograph, a vivacious woman who was only 31 years when she died in 1951 in a "coloured ward" in Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Beloved by her family, a lively, open-hearted woman, Henrietta died in intractable pain, and at the autopsy her body's interior was pearled by tumours. Towards the end she had been given only palliative treatment, but no one had explained this to her family, who still hoped she might be cured. She left behind a husband and five children, the youngest only a baby. But she also left behind a slice of tissue, a piece excised from the cervical cancer that was her primary tumour. From this sample her cells were cultured. Read More

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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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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Marking the magnificent memory of Henrietta Lacks

For those who are not regular readers, Henrietta Lacks was a rural tobacco farmer, mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend from southern Virginia who developed an unusually aggressive case of cervical cancer while living in Baltimore in 1951. While being treated at Johns Hopkins University, surgeons excised pieces of her tumor in an ongoing effort by the laboratory of Dr. George Gey to establish a continuously growing human tumor cell line in culture, a feat that had only been previously accomplished with mouse cells. Ms. Lacks's cells are today known by the name, HeLa (hee-luh), and have been used from the fifties in testing the effectiveness of the original Salk polio vaccine up through today providing the basis for the new cervical cancer vaccines. I would not be overstating the case to say that most biomedical scientists have at one time or another worked with HeLa cells. Read More

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