The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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, 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. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

As much as I love fiction novels, every once in a while, I come across a book that changes how I think about the world. When I was a researcher during the final days of my bachelor's degree, I used HeLA cells in my lab. We knew they were from a woman who died of ovarian cancer, nothing else. We didn't know her name. Reading this book shows how science often comes at the expense of others, and that we haven't always bee ethical or compassionate. It's the one book that I recommend to EVERYONE. It's a deep journey into the rabbit hole that is medical ethics, based around the woman who is responsible for more scientific breakthroughs than any other.

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