Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

This book looks fascinating - the first paragraph from this Times article:

Fifty years after Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer in the “colored” ward at Johns Hopkins Hospital, her daughter finally got a chance to see the legacy she had unknowingly left to science. A researcher in a lab at Hopkins swung open a freezer door and showed the daughter, Deborah Lacks-Pullum, thousands of vials, each holding millions of cells descended from a bit of tissue that doctors had snipped from her mother’s cervix.

The book is about the story, the incredible things that have been done with what turned out to be "immortal" cancer cells, and what rights, if any, the family has to the billions of dollars that have been made from the use of the cells.

It sounds like this is becoming more and more of an issue, and mixing in that with class, race, and the last 50 years in the US, this looks like it could be an amazing book.


Elizabeth said...

I read about this book this morning and it sort of freaks me out. Who knew?

Criticlasm said...

I know - the ramifications are crazy.

Elizabeth said...

There's a great, long excerpt from the book in O Magazine this month. I'm going to buy the whole book.