Angelina Recommends: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

“Raw and Emotional” are two words that come to mind when describing the October Biography Book Club pick The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This book was chosen at an opportune time as an article was recently published on 10/6/21 in the Boston Globe (link to article) with the headline “Lack’s family sues Waltham company over use of her cells: Thermo Fisher Scientific accused of unfair profits; others will be targeted”.  HeLa cells were the first human cells to survive and thrive outside the body in a test tube. Ever since then, HeLa cell lines have been used in more than 100,000 scientific PubMed publications on a range of topics including cancer, cell biology, genetics, and infectious diseases. HeLa cells have also been used recently to help test for the COVID vaccines.  It’s rare for one to stop and take a moment to think about the exact science behind these medical advancements, and this book does just that, it makes you stop and think.  If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend it as a non-fiction biographical look through the lens of a time when medical research was still evolving during racial segregation, and how one African American womans life led to a lasting contribution in this world.  Hopefully the Lacks Foundation and family will one day benefit and be recognized for it.