Beaumont Health System’s Cancer Clinical Trials and Community Health Education program brings Rebecca Skloot, author of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” to Oakland University for a free speaking engagement.
Through a grant funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, the event will take place Wednesday, Jan. 16, 7–8:30 p.m. at the Oakland Center in the Gold Room (2200 N. Squirrel Road in Rochester). Registration is required. Visit classes.beaumont.edu or call 800-633-7377 to register.
The event is open to community members, physicians and students. Minorities are especially encouraged to attend to learn about the availability of cancer clinical trials at Beaumont.
Clinical trials are research studies, managed by government agencies, educational institutions, private not-for-profit organizations or commercial businesses, to develop, produce and evaluate the effectiveness of new treatments and therapies for diseases.
Rebecca Skloot is a science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; and many other publications. She has explored a wide range of topics, including goldfish surgery; tissue ownership rights; food politics; and the perils of packs of wild dogs in Manhattan. Her essays have been widely anthologized. She is also a contributing editor at Popular Science magazine, and has worked as a correspondent for NPR’s RadioLab and PBS’s Nova ScienceNOW.
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” her debut book, took more than a decade to research. It instantly became a New York Times best seller in hardcover, paperback and electronic editions. It tells the rich, enthralling story of a poor, Southern tobacco farmer, Henrietta Lacks, whom scientists know as HeLa. In 1951, Henrietta developed a strangely aggressive cancer, and doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital took a tissue sample without her knowledge. She died without knowing that her cells would become immortal—the first to grow and survive indefinitely in culture. The cells became one of the most important tools in medicine and are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine, uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses and the effects of the atom bomb. This helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning and gene mapping. Her cells have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remained virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.
In addition to speaking to the audience, Skloot will sell books and sign autographs at the event. For more information about the author, visit http://rebeccaskloot.com/the-immortal-life.