Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

by Rebecca Skloot

While the worlds of science, medicine, and the global economy are more closely intertwined than ever before, the role of the public is unclear. When Rebecca Skloot learned that HeLa cells, used in laboratories all over the world, originated from one woman who has been all but forgotten by medical community, she researched the history of Henrietta Lacks, her family, and the incredible legacy of her immortal cancer cells. After finding out that millions of dollars had been made from cells extracted from their mother without her permission, Lacks' family was understandably reluctant to talk to Skloot. And Skloot, who had no interest in putting herself into the book she was researching, found her interactions with the Lacks family becoming a key part of the story. It's obviously not easy to sum up, but it's a thought-provoking, multilayered book that will stay with me a long time.

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