Cells from Henrietta Lacks are alive today in research laboratories all over the world.
In 1951, researchers and physicians at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD harvested these cells upon Henrietta's death from cancer without her consent or the consent of her family.
These cells, known as HeLa cells, helped develop the polio vaccine and led to advances in cancer research, viruses, gene mapping and beyond. But was this ethical and why wasn't her family informed and was compensation due them?
Rebecca Skloot, an award-winning science journalist unveils the history of the impoverished Lacks family-past and present. We learn about experimentation on African Americans and are alerted to the questions of bioethics. Thoroughly researched and documented over more than ten years, this is a journey into the lives of a family coping with the legacy of Henrietta's cells. The reader struggles with questions of personal freedom to decide and the need for scientific research at all costs. Deftly bringing together the read of a novel in an investigative true story, the author captures the reader's interest for a "can't-put-it-down" book which the reader will ponder for months - maybe years to come.
Recommended by Ruth Ann Johnson