In 1951, Henrietta Lacks was a poor African-American woman dying of cancer inside Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Hospital. While she was there, scientists took some of her cells without her knowledge. That wasn't unusual at the time — but what they found in her cells definitely was. They simply wouldn't die. They just kept multiplying, and they became essential tools in cancer research, the polio vaccine, gene-mapping, and in-vitro fertilization. But her family never saw a cent of the profits.
Rebecca Skloot's book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the story of this amazing discovery that saved thousands of lives but nearly destroyed a family. She speaks with George Stroumboulopoulos about the 10 years she spent researching and writing it.
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