Henrietta Lacks
The Real Life Henrietta Lacks

The movie ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ will air on HBO Saturday April 22, 2017. The movie is based on the nonfiction book by the same name, written by American author Rebecca Skloot. Oprah Winfrey will star in the movie, as one of Henrietta’s children, that ultimately collaborated with the author to make her story possible.

Who is Henrietta Lacks, and why is she such a significant figure for the medical community still today?

From the Page of Wikipedia:

Henrietta Lacks was born Loretta Pleasant, August 1, 1920, died October 4, 1951. She was an African American woman whose cancer cells were the source of the HeLa cell line, one of the most important cell lines in medical research. The HeLa cell line is an immortalized cell line, meaning that unlike most cells, which eventually stop reproducing themselves, cells from an immortalized cell line, under sufficient living conditions, will reproduce themselves indefinitely.[3]

Lacks was the unwitting donor of these cells from a cancerous tumor biopsied during treatment for her cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. in 1951. These cells were then cultured by George Otto Gey to create the cell line known as HeLa, a line which is still used for medical research.[4]


Image Source: Tumblir Inline