HeLa Cell Dividing

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer [whose] 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. 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. … And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits.

In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot shows how the riveting story of the Lacks family is “inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.”

Photo credit: Thomas Deerinck / Visuals Unlimited, Inc.

(Source: picasaweb.google.com)

blog comments powered by Disqus

585 notes

  1. batteries-out-my-mysticism reblogged this from horrorqueens
  2. hey-dudes-are-you-ready-to reblogged this from horrorqueens
  3. horrorqueens reblogged this from afracturedreality
  4. eerong reblogged this from afracturedreality
  5. ilstopstabbingwhenustopscreaming reblogged this from afracturedreality
  6. jenona reblogged this from afracturedreality
  7. bradendoesatublr reblogged this from afracturedreality and added:
    #science
  8. itslikemysoulhurts reblogged this from afracturedreality
  9. hegiveshope reblogged this from delightfuldreams and added:
    One of the best books I’ve ever read.
  10. delightfuldreams reblogged this from carriemp
  11. myirrelephantlife reblogged this from carriemp
  12. eshtarwind reblogged this from carriemp
  13. carriemp reblogged this from shedsumlight
  14. pastellieria reblogged this from callstheadventurescience
  15. callstheadventurescience reblogged this from shedsumlight
  16. shedsumlight reblogged this from afracturedreality
  17. everydaylearningandteaching reblogged this from science-junkie
  18. bitch-cat reblogged this from science-junkie and added:
    That was such a good book! For anyone interested in human rights and/or science, it’s a pretty easy read
  19. lookingfor-hazel-grace reblogged this from nursingisinmyblood
  20. iridescentartemis reblogged this from afracturedreality
  21. kenzraesmi reblogged this from afracturedreality
  22. indiansupremacist reblogged this from afracturedreality
To Tumblr, Love Pixel Union