Radiozine on 05/21/12
We hear about the story of Henrietta Lacks who unwittingly donated her tissue to science in 1951 and whose cells still grow in laboratories around the world today. Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.
Portland native Rebecca Skloot is an award winning science writer whose debut book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" took more than a decade to research and write and then instantly became a New York Times best-seller. Skloot is an alum and supporter of Portland Community College and recently returned to participate in PCC's Founders Week events.
We'll hear an interview with Rebecca Skloot excerpted from the program Big Picture Science.