Jump to content

Henrietta Lacks - The Lady Whose Cancer Cells Kick-Started Biotechnology

Al Dente

Recommended Posts

I've been heavily into podcasts lately. One of my favorites is Radio Lab and this story blew me away. I had never heard of Henrietta (Henrietta Lacks), but evidently, there's a best-selling book about her life and HBO will soon premier a movie based on her life starring Oprah.

In a nutshell, it's the story of scientists trying to make human cells live and reproduce outside the body. They failed over and over again until they got a hold of Henrietta's cells from a cervical cancer biopsy. The resulting "HeLa" cells marked the beginning of BioTech by serving as the catalyst for all kinds of major medical advancements including vaccines and chemotherapy. The story goes on to tell us about her family and how this impacted them. 

To check out the podcast:

"Henrietta's Tumor" on radiolab.org

Movie Trailer on rollingstone.com

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are so many "Thank Yous" involved here, but I'll start with the obvious one:

Thank you to Ms. Henrietta Lacks, who was a cervical-cancer patient at Johns Hopkins in 1951 (the only area hospital who would treat black women at the time).

No consent was given to Hopkins to use her cells for study, and no compensation was given to Ms. Lacks, but that's not the most important thing; the most important thing is that Ms. Lacks is now recognized as the mother of this sub-field of Biotechnology.

Rest in Peace, Ms. Lacks, and thank you. I only hope that one day, I can help out my fellow man the way you did yours.

What more is there?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...