Tag Archives: HeLa

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot


Immortal Life HLI was pretty excited to read this book. I had heard about it a couple times so when I found it at a book fair, I grabbed it right up. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected to.

When Henrietta Lacks died of cancer in 1951, some of the cancerous cells were sent to a lab where they became the first human cells to be kept alive and reproduce on their own. They were called the first immortal human cells. Using the first two letters of her first and last names, they were named HeLa. Because of their incredible growth rate, they were used in medical research around the globe. HeLa cells have been in some way involved in just about every medical advance since 1951.

The rest of this story comes decades later when Henrietta’s family hears that their mother/wife’s cells have been used in all this research. They spend much time and energy worrying if their mother is actually being kept alive somewhere, and also how they can get compensated for the use of her cells after all this time.

So many people have enjoyed this book that if you have planned to read it, you still should! You may enjoy it. But alas, I did not.