Henrietta Lacks' Family Discusses Her Legacy

Book - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Friday, November 14, 2014

Several hundred people came to Northrop Auditorium on Nov. 14 for a lively conversation with members of the Lacks family and Ruth Faden, PhD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. Rebecca Skloot's bestsellling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks describes how as a cancer patient being treated at John Hopkins, Henrietta Lacks, an impoverished, 31-year-old, African-American, had cells extracted and used in research without her consent. Her cells demonstrated the unique ability to be kept alive and grow in a laboratory, resulting in the first human immortal cell line for medical research, identified globally as the HeLa cell line. The event was moderated by Consortium chair Susan M. Wolf and co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics.