Invitation to book discussion for “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”
A book discussion on “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” will be held on Tuesday, May 18 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. in Harwick 1-13. In her book, Rebecca Skloot provides the fascinating background of a young African-American cancer patient whose biopsy provided medical scientists the first immortal cells. This biopsy was cultured into a line called HeLa Cells after the initial letters in her first and last names.
In just 60 years since her death, HeLa cells have changed the course of medicine. The cells provided the essential ingredient that contributed to the development of the fields of Virology, Genetic Medicine, Genetic Hybrids, Clones, and Nanotechnology. They have made the work behind two Nobel Prize awards possible. However, her cells are increasingly the focal point for ethical and social/justice discourse in medicine as they remain today a substantial source of profit for corporations, and provide some of the essential materials used by thousands of medical researchers. In spite of the wealth these cells have produced in medicine, many of Ms. Lack’s siblings, children and grandchildren continue to live in poverty, and without health insurance.
The discussion will be led by Eddie Greene, M.D., and Dawn Littleton.
Please contact either for additional information about the book, or for a list of questions that will shape the discussion of the HeLa cell phenomenon and conundrum. Copies of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” are available for checkout from the Learning Resource Center (119 Mitchell Student Center), and the Luther Midelfort Library (Eau Claire WI).
UPDATED 2/15/11 to reflect that no discussion questions are available.