Cancer, the Radiolab edition.

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Henrietta Lacks famous cells

This podcast is possibly the most informative, scary, disgusting, weird and inspiring podcasts I’ve ever heard. Like most people cancer has had a growing impact on my family. My Mum is a survivor; I’ve lost Aunts, my ex-wife, and just last week, a good friends husband.  I’m heading for my 3rd surgery for nonmalignant skin carcinoma removal. Yet I know nothing about cancer.

I didn’t set out to learn, “Famous Tumors” was just next up on my drive time podcast list. Well worth the listen. The main story is about Her name was Henrietta Lacks, scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the land. Her cells, taken without her knowledge, became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. She remains virtually unknown, hear her story, and that of the march of her cells.

Author: Mark Cathcart

Formerly an Executive Director of Systems Engineering and a Senior Distinguished Engineer at Dell. Prior to that, an IBM Distinguished Engineer working for the Systems Group in NY and Austin. I'm currently "retired until further notice".

3 thoughts on “Cancer, the Radiolab edition.”

  1. RadioLab is a favorite of mine. I vividly remember hearing this particular Radiolab podcast during a moonless, starry pre-dawn drive through the New Mexico desert. Listening to Radiolab during my long summer vacation drives (while the family sleeps) is one of my favorite things in life. The cancer episode, as you said, is the most fascinating. Coming close are “Left-handedness (chirality)” and “Words”. I’m not sure of the titles but the former is about the lef-handedness of biology, and the latter is about a poor deaf boy who did not learn to speak – even sign language – until he was a young adult. These are all worth listening to again!

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