Teacher Guide

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Lesson Plan

Introduction to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

After over a decade of research, Rebecca Skloot published The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in 2010. The book was an immediate success, and has since been taught in multiple universities and adapted into an HBO film.

Henrietta Lacks was a poor black woman who was treated for an aggressive form of cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in the 1950s. The cancer took her life. Without her consent, researchers at the hospital took samples from her tumor and discovered they could grow into immortal cell lines. The discovery of these cells, called HeLa in the scientific community, revolutionized science and contributed directly to many of the most important medical...

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