April 21, 2017 | New York Times

Science Needs Your Cells

Holly Fernandez Lynch and Steven Joffe
It’s often portrayed as a story of exploitation. In the early 1950s, Henrietta Lacks, a poor, young African-American woman, learned she had terminal cancer. Cells collected from a biopsy of her cancer were cultured without her knowledge or permission to develop a cell line, called HeLa. Over the ensuing decades, research using HeLa cells led to scores of medical advances, saving lives — and making a lot of money for a lot of people, though not for Ms. Lacks’s family.

Now enter Oprah. She’s the star of HBO’s new movie “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” based on Rebecca Skloot’s best-selling book and making its premiere Saturday night.

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