Brain Byte

Henrietta Lacks

  • Published30 Apr 2020
  • Author Calli McMurray
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN

Henrietta Lacks’ “immortal” cancer cells led to the creation of life-saving drugs. Yet, controversy surrounds the cells because Lacks never knew about their removal and use. Rebecca Skloot’s award-winning book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells Lacks’ story and examines the important issues it raised about ethics, race, and class.

Brain Bytes showcase essential facts about neuroscience.

brain byte henrietta lacks
Design by A. Tong

Design by Adrienne Tong.

Photo: Courtesy of the Lacks family.



Etheredge, L. (2019, September 30). Henrietta Lacks. Retrieved from

Henrietta Lacks. (2019, July 26). Retrieved from

Brain Awareness Week

A worldwide celebration of the brain that brings together scientists, families, schools, and communities during the third week in March.

Join the Campaign

Educator Resources

Explain the brain to your students with a variety of teaching tools and resources.



Do you believe any of these common neuromyths? Test your knowledge.

Read More