The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Questions and Answers
by Rebecca Skloot

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Why was the Tuskegee Institution mentioned in the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks?

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The association between the Tuskegee Institute of Alabama and the plot ofThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lackscan be summarized in three words: unethical medical practices.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacksnarrates the true story of how the cervical cancer cells of John Hopkins University hospital patient Henrietta Lacks were extracted and used for medical research without her being informed, nor with her consent. Henrietta had a singularity in her cancer cells: they grew at a faster rate than it had ever been witnessed by the scientific community  before. Most cells die after reproducing. Henrietta's did the exact opposite. This deemed the cells "immortal".

Dr. George Gey discovered the cells and gave them out to other scientists in order to aid in the research of vaccines. The cells were given the name "HeLa" cells, after Henrietta Lacks's name.The growth (spread) of the cells was used in the...

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