By Michael Gold
Booklet by means of Gold, Michael
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Extra resources for A conspiracy of cells: one woman's immortal legacy and the medical scandal it caused
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. 5 I n the Pu rp l e Pa lace I t wouldn't be right to say that the officials of the National Cancer Institute were surprised when Nelson-Rees delivered the bad news in the spring of 1 9 73 .
At one point George Gey compared the per formance of the cancerous HeLa cells to the performance of the normal cervical tissue taken from Henrietta Lacks : the tumor cells were growing ten to twenty times faster. 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.
He had been wrong to think that anyone wanted to hear this bad news, except, ironically, the Russians. The funny thing is that the entire frustrating misadventure tempted him to jump in with both feet. It was almost enough to start him off on a personal crusade. Almost. 6 Keeper of the Ce l ls G rowing up in Germany in the 1 940s, Walter Rees was an outsider. He had been born in Havana and lived there until his parents separated when he was nine years old. Walter's mother then took him and his older brother to Karlsruhe, a town on the Rhine River.
A conspiracy of cells: one woman's immortal legacy and the medical scandal it caused by Michael Gold