Monday, December 17, 2012 on Henrietta Lacks: 'A Woman Who Unwittingly Made & Affected History'

Hazel Singer writes the blog of

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Excerpt from Dec. 16, 2012 post at

Henrietta Lacks. She was living just an ordinary life when the seemingly ordinary event of illness had extraordinary results that would forever change science and cancer research.

Dr. Clarence Spigner has written a powerful essay for entitled Henrietta Lacks and the Debate Over Ethics in Bio-medical Research. Dr. Spigner's essay provides an overview of Mrs. Lacks' life, the treatment of her cancer, and the subsequent cancer research based on the cancerous cells taken from her body at the time of diagnosis. The importance of her cancerous cells became apparent when, unlike other failed attempts at propagating cells for research, her cells (called HeLa cells) not only lived, but self-propagated at an extraordinary rate. The journalist Rebecca Skloot's work "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew." (excerpted from the website of Rebecca Skloot, referenced above).

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