Henrietta Lacks is not a common household name, yet in the scientific and medical world it has become one of the most important and talked names of the century. Up until the time that this book was written, very few people knew of Henrietta Lacks and how her cells contributed to modern science, but Rebecca Skloot aimed to change this. Eventually Skloot was able to reach Henrietta’s remaining family and through them she was able to tell the story of not only the importance of the HeLa cells but also Henrietta’s life.
Henrietta Lacks was born on August 1, 1920, in Roanoke, Virginia. Lacks died of cervical cancer on October 4, 1951, at age 31. Cells taken from her body without her knowledge were used to form the HeLa cell line. Lacks's case has sparked legal and ethical debates over the rights of an individual to his or her genetic material and tissue.
In her book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot discusses how one woman’s unfortunate diagnosis of cancer resulted in the discovery of the first immortal human cell line, HeLa. The establishment of the HeLa cell line has proven to be one of the most influential breakthroughs in the biomedical sciences because these cells have played a major role in some of the largest breakthroughs in since they were first cultured in the 1950s. In addition to an examination of the science behind HeLa cells, Skloot also provides a look at the lives of Henrietta Lacks’s descendants. One characteristic that all members of the family share is a dedication to religion and spirituality. This juxtaposition between science and religion presents the body and its constituent cells in a unique way. It provides multiple dimensions to how people can view bodies. Specifically, Skloot’s depiction of HeLa cells presents the body and its individual cellular components as entities that exist as both scientific and spiritual beings simultaneously.
This is a book that tells a story of an African-American woman and the Scientific journey of her cells, it also goes in depth about how her daughter came to find out about her immortal cells. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is divided into three layers and each part discusses different event that happened during the course of Henrietta’s life, death, and immortality. If the story was written in a chronological order would it had made it easier or harder to understand the more important things?
In 1951, Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer at John Hopkins Hospital. Without any consent, Henrietta’s doctors took tissue samples from her cervix and attempted to grow them and keep them alive. These cells, known as HeLa cells, began to grow at an unbelievable rate; The HeLa cell became vital for the development of vaccines and other scientific research. However because of Henrietta’s race and economic standpoint, Henrietta Lacks and the rest of the Lacks family was exploited by doctors. The exploitation of the family allowed the doctors and researchers to benefit scientifically and monetarily.
Racism is immortal just like Henrietta’s cells it will always be around. People would do anything to be the first to discover something. At the end of the day it’s all about the money. The Mississippi appendectomies and the Tuskegee experiments were similar in the way that the government forced treatment upon minorities without consent. Henrietta’s case was different than Mississippi and Tuskegee because the doctor in Johns Hopkins didn’t experiment on her actual body but on her cells without consent. Henrietta’s case the Tuskegee experiments and the Mississippi Appendectomies are all different cases in different locations but serve the same purpose which is to take advantage of poor and uneducated minorities to
The topic of Henrietta Lacks and what her cells did for science is very well known. Henrietta Lacks is an African-American women who developed cervical cancer that spread throughout her body. Information gathered by Rebecca Skloot and many other researchers suggests that scientists took a sample of Henrietta’s cancerous cells without her permission. These HeLa cells were the first successful group of cells to stay alive outside of a living body, and continued on to help the world of medicine in many ways.
After her death in 1951, for six decades, Henrietta Lacks did not exist in the eyes of the society, but her cells did. How? Well, the answer is quite simple. HeLa Cells are the first immortal human cells. These cells never die and multiply every twenty-four hours. After spending 10 years to perfect her first book, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot essentially captured the life, the death, and aftermath of Henrietta Lacks’ life. With controversial issues regarding science, ethics, race, and class Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey. From the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover,
The story of Henrietta Lacks and HeLa cells is one to remember. It is truly amazing how one person’s cancerous cells could impact science and the lives of so many. In the book sections of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, Rebbeca Skloot did a wonderful job portraying how Henerietta’s cells have had a positive affect on scientific studies. She described what HeLa cells have done and how studies with these cells have evolved over time. The movie “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” provided good insight on Henrietta’s family and described what they have been through since the passing of their mother.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks focuses on many issues that Henrietta and her family have faced over the years resulting from the discovery of HeLa cells. One such issue that was recurrently present was the ethical issue of informed consent, or the lack of it, in the Lacks’ case. In the beginning when Henrietta was first being treated with radium to kill her cancerous tumor, her primary doctor, Dr. TeLinde, took a sample of the tissue and sent it to Dr. Gey, head of tissue
Henrietta Lacks: an unknown name up until recent years. A name that had been known to the world only as HeLa; The first two letters of a name that belonged to a poor African American tobacco farmer that unknowingly changed science and life as we know it today. Her life has finally been portrayed in a very intimate story that not only does her life some justice but also transcendentally brings to mind the philosophical issues concerning medical ethics both of the past, present, and the future. In a world of constantly evolving medical advancement, science is a pivotal force that propels ideas forward. Although most will agree that the knowledge and cures found are a positive aspect, there is also a necessary evil that is involved, including
When I first heard about the book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", I thought it was just a reading assignment when I was in high school that I had to complete for a grade. As I began reading I became particularly interested in Henrietta Lacks and the HeLa cells. In "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", Rebecca Skloot talks about Henrietta Lacks and how her cells were taken without her permission, and how her family suffered afterwards. Skloot shows how medicine and science were seen back in the 1950's compared to now.
This research paper is based on the findings from the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”. What you will read and come to know is nonfiction. I wish I could put the pictures of what I have seen and read together here for you to perhaps get a better understanding. A story based on not Henrietta’s life being that of immortality, but rather cancer cells removed from her body without her knowledge. These were the first cancer cells to reproduce outside of her body. You will come to know about Henrietta, her cancer, her cells, and her immortal life. Perhaps we can all learn to appreciate life in greater means of appreciation after reading and knowing the life and immortal afterlife of Henrietta Lacks. You will learn about a woman, who like us, had a family, and ended up not being able to truly live life to its fullest. Making us all realize just how cancer is and the amazing research that came from being able to reproduce her cells. Not just for cancer but for various other illnesses that plague so many of us. My hope is that you take away from this a better understanding of a time we do not know, for the ups and downs of science and the possibility of immortal life.
The theme I have selected for my book is “...Despite one’s best effort, humanity will not always return the favor. Life is not a balanced scale; life is a dance of give and take that can leave one person on top of the world and another buried six feet under.” This theme can be linked to my poster’s slogan: “It is possible to be chained by the stories we have yet to tell,” because the chains that bound the Lacks family were the cause of the unjustness they were subjected to. The image I selected represents my slogan and the characters in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks because they felt locked up, left to rot as they wondered what had happened to their mother. The chains are the lies, the secrets, and the manipulations that the Lacks family
The book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, was a nonfiction story about the life of Henrietta Lacks, who died of cervical cancer in 1951. Henrietta did not know that her doctor took a sample of her cancer cells a few months before she died. “Henrietta cells that called HeLa were the first immortal human cells ever grown in a laboratory” (Skloot 22). In fact, the cells from her cervix are the most important advances in medical research. Rebecca was interested to write this story because she was anxious with the story of HeLa cells. When she was in biology class, her professor named Donald Defler gave a lecture about cells. Defler tells the story about Henrietta Lacks and HeLa cells. However, the professor ended his