S05 E28: The Untold Story of Henrietta Lacks with Ron Lacks

The story of Henrietta Lacks is not a secret anymore. It was first told by an author named Rebecca Skloot in the best-selling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Not long after that, a movie was made based on the book by Oprah Winfrey. You would think that her family would have financially benefitted from the use of her cells and the subsequent fame surrounding her story.

The myriad of scientific uses for her cells is stunning. Henrietta’s descendants have never received a penny from the proceeds.

According to the stories, we have once again heard this is not true. Every story told about Mrs. Lacks has been told by someone else.

Ron Lacks grandson of Mrs. Henrietta Lacks has written a book about his grandmother and he joined us to tell her story. Who she was, what she went through and how they are moving forward to right a lot of wrongs.

The 1997 BBC 2 documentary The Way of All Flesh can be viewed on YouTube via

HeLa cells continue to be used and monetized, there is a website that offers comparisons between the various companies who offer HeLa cells for sale: https://www.biocompare.com/pfu/111694/soids/760411-2259403/Cells_and_Microorganisms/HeLa_Cell_Lines

Please remember as you watch this episode…Ron Lacks and his family have not received a penny from the innumerable patents, prizes, or products developed from HeLa cell research.


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