Alok Jha talks to Rebecca Skloot about the intriguing story of Henrietta Lacks and why she has been so important to medical science. Plus, Ian Sample interviews British astronaut Tim Peake.
Also huffduffed as…
In 1951, Henrietta Lacks died after a long battle with cervical cancer. Doctors cultured her cells without permission from her family. The story of those cells and of the medical advances that came from them, is told in Rebecca Skloot’s book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
"Medical researchers often use cells known as HeLa cells in their work. The ‘immortal cells’ are used to study cancer, aging, AIDS, and more. The name HeLa is a shortening of the name Henrietta Lacks — a woman whose cervical cancer cells were used to create this research cell line, without her knowledge or permission. In this segment, Ira talks with author Rebecca Skloot about ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,’ a tale of biology and medical ethics."
This is an interesting coincidental accompaniment to a RadioLab segment (will add next) about ‘cell immortality’ of a cluster of cells (scientifically known as WI38) derived from a single woman’s aborted child. Those cells now live in over a billion people though the majority of vaccines given over the last 50 years.
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