Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks



[Deborah] was terrified that she might have cancer, and consumed with the idea that researchers had done -- and were perhaps still doing -- horrible things to her mother. . . .  Deborah started wondering if instead of testing the Lacks children for cancer, McKusick and Hsu were actually injecting them with the same bad blood that had killed their mother.
-- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

This is my Book Club's current book. It is a non-fiction account of the woman who's cancer cells -- which have been growing ever since 1951 when a sample of the tumor was put in a petri dish -- became known as HeLa and have been used in medical research for the last 60 years. 
 
I really enjoy the science part of the book about how the HeLa cells have been used, and the medical ethics and personal privacy issues are fascinating.  I am a little put off by the book's treatment of the family, which strikes me as being more exploitative (even if the goal is to engender sympathy) than how the scientific community treated them all these years.   
 
 
Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

 


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