IMMORTAL LIFE at #10 on Amazon

Rebecca Skloot became obsessed with a story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman who contracted cancer in 1951; it was so virulant that it killed her within the year. She was just 31.

Amazingly, however, her cancer cells went on to have a life of their own. A medical researcher had been trying to find cells that would live indefinitely so he could use them in experiments. Lacks’ cells had that unique characteristic and have been used in labs around the world ever since; they were used to develop the first polio vaccine as well as drugs for many other diseases.

But neither Lacks nor her family knew that her cells were going to be used in this way.

Skloot just published a book about the story, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It was covered on ABC’s World News Tonight on Sunday and in the New York Times‘ “Health” section yesterday. Calling the book “gripping,”  the article notes that it raises difficult ethical issues; “if scientists or companies can commercialize a patient’s cells or tissues, doesn’t that patient, as provider of the raw material, deserve a say about it and maybe a share of any profits that result?”

The book is currently at #10 on Amazon. UPDATE: After the author was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross on Feb. 3, the book rose to #7 on Amazon.

Ordering is light with heavy holds in most  libraries. Where the audio is owned, it is also showing heavy holds

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Crown – (2010-02-02)
ISBN / EAN: 1400052173 / 9781400052172

Random House Audio; UNABR; 9780307712509; $35
Audio and e-book available from OverDrive.

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