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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Euan Slorach

When Henrietta Lacks died in 1951, her family had no idea that her cells would live on indefinitely…multiplying to the extent that laid together, they could wrap around the Earth at least 3 times. Today on River To River - the immortal life of Henrietta Lacks. Host Ben Kieffer talks with Lacks’ grandson about Henrietta's legacy. Her grandson, David Lacks Jr., will speak tonight in Iowa City as part of the Iowa City Book Festival.

Ben sits down with researchers who have worked with the cells that led to medical breakthroughs including cancer cures, treatments for HIV and Parkinson’s, in vitro fertilization, and the polio vaccine. Joining are: Martine Dunnwald, of the University of Iowa, and Scott Rose, of Integrated DNA Technologies.

And, science journalist Brooke Borel shares the story of her recent decision to donate her body to medical research after death.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River