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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Home

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Manchester Community College Common Read - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Common Read is a very popular program that is implemented all over the country within schools and communities to help enhance and support more thoughtful decision making as we make choices for our future. This program invites all readers to read and engage in one single text that explores controversial topics such as racism, ethics, and poverty. All faculty and staff, as well as our student body, are invited to join in the Common Read Program. I also invite any Instructors to take advantage of this program and incorporate this text within your course offering for the fall and spring semesters.

For more information about Common Read programs click on this link: One Book, One College : Common Reading Programs.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Multiphoton fluorescence image of HeLa cells stained with the actin binding toxin phalloidin (red), microtubules (cyan) and cell nuclei (blue). NIH-funded work at the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research. Credit: Tom Deerinck


Why is the story of Henrietta Lacks so important?

Rebecca Skloot answers: The story of the HeLa cells is important for many of reasons: It’s about race and class and science and ethics and the importance of access to education and health care, all of which are vital current issues. But one reason the story is important today is that we live in a time when medical research relies more and more on biological samples like Henrietta’s cells. A lot of the ethical questions raised by Henrietta’s story still haven’t been addressed today: Should people have a right to control what’s done with their tissues once they’re removed from their bodies? And who, if anyone, should profit from those tissues? Henrietta’s story is unusual in that her identity was eventually attached to her cells, so we know who she was. But there are human beings behind each of the billions of samples currently stored in tissue banks and research labs around the world. The majority of Americans have tissues on file being used in research somewhere, and most don’t realize it...

Extraordinary Cells

Extraordinary Cells (02:41)

From Title: Henrietta Lacks Was Never Compensated for Cells

Physicians removed tumor cells from Henrietta Lacks, a victim of cervical cancer. Her extraordinary cells have been used in biomedical research ever since. See archival footage.

If you have trouble playing this clip off-campus, try this

Join us for these events!

Events for Faculty and Students:

Discussion Groups - Follow our Events Calendar for all dates

Guest Speaker- Nora Uricchio, Radiology Therapy Program Coordinator, "Radiology Therapy; Where We Were Then, Where We Are Now" on Thursday March 12th from 1pm to 2pm in the AST SBM Auditorium.  Watch Nora's lecture here.

Panel Discussion –“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”
"Women and Youth Advocacy Today" - Guest Speakers; Sharon Kozey, Director of Youth Services for the town of Manchester/Nancy Fuentes, Women's Health Care Advocate. Wednesday, April 15th from 1pm to 2pm in the MCC Library Fireside Commons.

MCC ICE Radio Interview

The Common Read: Albert Kim of MCC ICE Radio interviews guest Rosalyn Wormack, Common Read Coordinator and Dean Sandra Palmer, MCC Academic Provost on the importance of the Common Read Initiative. You can listen to the complete interview here.