The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
By Rebecca Skloot
Crown Publishers; 337 pages
In 1951 a young black woman named Henrietta Lacks was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital and given a diagnosis of cervical cancer. During treatment, doctors removed a sample of her tumor and sent it to a research lab without her permission. Lacks died a few months later, but the sample lived on--and on and on. The strain, dubbed HeLa, was the first human tissue to be successfully kept alive as a culture. Since her death, Lacks' cells have been shot into space, infected with tuberculosis and zapped with...