The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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How HeLa cells changed the history of medicine.

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Immortality is a topic that conjures up images of beauty and imagination, which has been talked about since ancient times. For example, it’s said in the Bible, “I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Over the past thousand years, instances of people who become immortal from believing in religion have never been found, but this hasn’t affected people’s pursuit of immortality. Therefore, in modern society, many people hope to achieve immortality by turning to advanced science and technology. In 1967, scientists were commissioned to freeze the body of an American physicist, James Bedford, using cryogenic technology. In July 2015, the body of Zhan Wenlian, a common voluntary worker in Shandong, China, underwent the same treatment. By doing these, scientists hope to continue studying the resurrection of the human body, so that when the technology become available in the near future, they could possibly thaw and resurrect these bodies. Is the belief in immortality a scientific fantasy, or a reality? The book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will tell you the answer to this question. This book not only tells the story of the immortal cells, HeLa, and the owner Henrietta Lacks, but also shows the history of human medical progress. It presents people’s discussions on medical ethics, the ownership of bodily tissues, and the right to informed consent, over the last century. The author of the book is Rebecca Skloot, a well-known scientific writer in the United States. She has been curious about Henrietta and her cells since she was 16 years old, and began studying and investigating the story of HeLa many years later. After 10 years of exploration, the author not only discovered the secret of HeLa’s immortality and the story behind the cells, but also learned about the moral and ethical challenges that scientists faced when using HeLa cells in their research. The author finally finished this 320,000-word documentary work of literature and published it. She wanted to help people understand “the immortal life of Henrietta Lacks”, and hoped to draw their attention to the value of life, individual dignity, and medical ethics. Next, I will tell you the story of HeLa in three parts: Part One: The Previous and Present Life of HeLa Part Two: HeLa’s Great Contributions Part Three: Problems Caused by HeLa

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