Henrietta Lacks’ biographer: ‘So much of science started with her cells
Henrietta Lacks was a poor African American tobacco farmer in Virginia. In 1951, at the age of 31, the mother of five died of cervical cancer only eight months after diagnosis.
But the story does not end there. In an odd way, she lived on. Cancer cells that had been taken from her body without her consent during a 1951 visit to the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore provided the first human cells to be successfully cloned.
The so-called HeLa cells have been reproduced billions of times for medical research around the world, contributing to tens of thousands of studies and disease treatments. Rebecca Skloot, author of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” spoke to The World’s host Marco Werman about Lacks’ legacy.