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When Henrietta Lacks, a poor African-American tobacco field worker, died from cancer in 1951, she was buried in an unmarked grave. Unbeknownst to her family, doctors had harvested tissue samples from her body without permission. These cells would become the remarkable HeLa cells--the first human cells reproduced in a laboratory--and would be used for scientific research on cancer cures, radiation therapy, gene mapping, and AIDS. Millions of tons of HeLa cells have been created over the decades, all part of a billion dollar medical market--a harsh irony to some of Lacks's children who cannot afford health insurance. THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS is more than just an astonishing scientific story; it is also the history of the practice of unethical medical testing on African-Americans. Journalist Rebecca Skloot wonderfully brings to life the strange intersections of science, politics, and social justice. Selected by Publishers Weekly as a 2010 Top 10 Book and by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2010.
Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization and gene mapping.
Number of Pages: 369
Genre: Health + Wellness, Medical, Biography + Autobiography
Sub-Genre: History, Diseases / Cancer, Medical, Ethics
Publisher: Crown Pub
Author: Rebecca Skloot
Street Date: February 2, 2010
Item Number (DPCI): 059-01-0399