Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman, literally changed the face of modern medicine, but many of us had no idea. Now her story is finally being told.
The HBO film The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has officially announced its premiere date for April 22. The news was initially revealed on the official HBO Twitter account.
Oprah Winfrey stars in this adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s critically acclaimed, bestselling nonfiction book of the same name. The film tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line.
Normal cells are able to reproduce usually up to about 50 times before dying off, but not Henrietta’s. Her cells are able to replicate infinitely on just about any surface, allowing research and experiments to go on anywhere and in any environment. These experiments would have been impossible to conduct without Henrietta’s cells.
Yes, the very first immortal human cells were from a Black woman.
It’s an endless source of identical cells that are still around today.
Thanks to HeLa cells we now have a vaccine for HPV
Thanks to HeLa cells, the polio epidemic was defeated in 1960’s
Thanks to HeLa cells, we now have breakthroughs in HIV, measles, mumps, and ebola.
HeLa cells are so resilient that they can travel almost on any surface and even invade cultures of other cells and take them over. They are truly remarkable.
The medical industry used Henrietta’s cells to build fortunes without Henrietta’s consent and without the family’s knowledge for decades.
“They are literally the foundation of modern medical science,” Francis Lanasa, an attorney for the Lacks family said of the cells.