In 1951, a poor black southern American woman (mother of 5 children) Henrietta Lacks went to the gynecological clinic because of a painful lump. She did not know at that time that she would die a few months later because of a highly malignant form of cervical cancer. And she did not know either that her body cells will be taken from her for scientific research reasons and in future, they would change the global medicine.
The cancer cells of Henrietta Lacks, better known as HeLa cells, be able to grow indefinitely. Her cells have played an important role in a development of a polio vaccine. Moreover, cancer cells of one black woman gave an opportunity to know the human genome more closely.
In the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, an American investigative journalist Rebecca Skloot tells as not only a history of the particular cells and the biggest industry that flourished around it, but it also tells us a beautiful story of the Henrietta itself and her relatives who discovered only in the seventies that their mother and wife became a worldwide famous and "lived on" in laboratories.
Rebecca Skloot is an award-winning science journalist whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Oprah Magazine and Columbia Journalism Review. In addition, she teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Memphis. She was writing her book almost ten years because there was only a little known about the woman behind the HeLa cell and her faithful family, which raised a deep distrust to any science. In her book Skloot talks about the obstacles she encountered in her search for information and the ethical issues.