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History – Henrietta Lacks

February 8th, 2011 by Black Gospel Choir

August 18, 1920 – October 4, 1951

Henrietta Lacks

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.

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.

Her story and that of her family are told in a book by Rebecca Skloot called “The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

 

NY Times Bestsellers – Non-Fiction

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