Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

I just finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

One of the most interesting books I have ever read.

Henrietta Lacks was the daughter of sharecroppers in Virginia and eventually moved to Baltimore with her husband. In 1951 she was 31 years old, with four small children. She went to Johns Hopkins and was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She died a few months later.
During the course of her treatment at Johns Hopkins, a sample of her cells was taken for a research study. At the time, scientists had never been able to keep cells alive. But Henrietta's cells lived, and grew. And paved the way for remarkable breakthroughs in the medical field, including the polio vaccine.
This is a story about Henrietta, her life, the lives of her children, and the incredible life of her cells and the part that biomedical ethics has played out in this situation.

Colbert's interview with author Rebecca Skloot:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Rebecca Skloot
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