A conspiracy of cells: one woman's immortal legacy and the by Michael Gold PDF

By Michael Gold

ISBN-10: 0887060994

ISBN-13: 9780887060991

Ebook by means of Gold, Michael

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Additional info for A conspiracy of cells: one woman's immortal legacy and the medical scandal it caused

Sample text

It was too early to start celebrating, and George Gey The Seed that Took wasn't the sort to stop and congratulate himself anyway. But there was no doubt about it, these cells were differ­ ent. The tumor within Henrietta Lacks was different too, though the doctors didn't know it at the time. Most cer­ vical tumors - especially those found at an early stage, as was Henrietta's - were easily beaten back by radiation. Most patients were still alive five years after therapy. So after several more radium treatments, the doctors gave her one month of X-ray therapy and hoped that would be the end of it.

It first surfaced in 1 9 73 when a group of West German scientists reported the surprising presence of monkey vi­ ruses in a human cell line. But by then, it had traveled ex­ tensively, no doubt hopping in and out of culture dishes under a variety of aliases . When researchers tried to re­ construct the wanderings of this HeLa variant many 37 38 A Conspi racy of Cells years later, all they could say with certainty was that it must have slipped into the Soviet Union at some earlier point- because it was this strain of HeLa cells growing in six separate cultures that the Russians handed back to the Americans in 1 972.

Nelson-Rees j ostled and j oked further with Zhdanov. With some of the other Soviet delegates, he discussed opera and ballet, in­ cluding the work of Rudolf Nureyev, a Soviet defector. If a few of the American bureaucrats were still sore about Nelson-Rees's independence in the handling of the Rus­ sian cultures - and miffed anew at his accepting this in­ vitation to Moscow without consultation - they didn't let on. Finally, thought Nelson-Rees, the world is re­ gaining its sanity. The Journ al of Virology soon proved him wrong.

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A conspiracy of cells: one woman's immortal legacy and the medical scandal it caused by Michael Gold


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