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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The closest I've ever come to praying: HeLa

I've been reading the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for so long I'm not sure if I've told you about it yet. It's the story of the real woman behind HeLa cells -- a cell culture that has been key to most cell research.

Chapter 32 tells the story of how her daughter and the author saw the cells for the first time. I felt moved to draw out some of the chapter for while it takes us on a scientific, historical journey, it also reveals the personal journey that the author, Rebecca Skloot, undertook as she learned the story behind these miracle cells that few people had heard of.

The author says of placing her hand on the big toe of John Hopkins' Jesus, it was "the closest I've ever come to praying."