The African-American woman behind ‘HeLa’ cells used in research


The cells scientists call “HeLa” have been grown immortally in culture for decades, yet the African-American woman from whom these cells were derived died of cervical cancer at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, published this month by Crown, tells the story of the young mother of five whose own life could not be saved, but through the use of her undying cells, medical research has achieved enormous progress. Science writer Rebecca Skloot also explores issues of informed consent, race and access to health care in her extensively researched book.

Read interview here.

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