The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks

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Now a major motion picture from HBO® starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne.Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance?           Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.
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ISBN:
9781400052172
9780307589385
9781400052189
9780307712523
9780307712530
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 3cbc0adf-2cf9-278b-894c-6ae273660023
Grouping Title immortal life of henrietta lacks
Grouping Author skloot rebecca
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-07-22 15:41:04PM
Last Indexed 2018-07-22 15:41:41PM

Solr Details

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auth_author2 Campbell, Cassandra., Turpin, Bahni.
author Skloot, Rebecca, 1972-
author2-role Campbell, Cassandra.|Narrator, Turpin, Bahni.
author_display Skloot, Rebecca
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display_description Now an HBO® Film starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.
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subject_facet African American women -- Health and hygiene, Cancer -- Patients -- Virginia -- Biography, Cancer -- Research, Cell culture, HeLa cells, Lacks, Henrietta, -- 1920-1951 -- Health, Medical ethics
title_display The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks
title_full The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks / Rebecca Skloot, The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks [sound recording] / Rebecca Skloot
title_short The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks
title_sub
topic_facet African American Nonfiction, Biography & Autobiography, Nonfiction, Science