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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot
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In 1951, Henrietta Lacks was a poor, uneducated black woman living with her husband and young children in Baltimore when she developed cervical cancer and soon died. Without her or her family’s knowledge or consent, cells from her cancer were cultured, distributed, and used in thousands of experiments continuing to this day, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization and gene mapping. Rebecca Skloot, a noted science writer, uncovers the story of the woman behind these HeLa cells as well as that of her family, who never received compensation for the sale of Henrietta’s cells. The biological, ethical and human elements of the story come together as an engrossing narrative of scientific discovery and its human consequences.

Lori Siegel