Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Just in time for International Women’s Day...

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is now available in paperback for the first time. 

It is an unbelievable story and no surprise that the hardcover edition was selected for more than sixty best books of the year lists.

Henrietta Lacks was a poor Southern tobacco farmer. Her cells were taken without her knowledge and became one of the most important tools in science research.
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.

I first heard about this book while watching The Agenda with Steve Paikin. You can watch the episode here.

To learn more, visit the author’s website RebeccaSkloot.com here.

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