The Way of All Flesh

Adam Curtis 1997 51:50

The Way of All Flesh traces the story of Henriettta Lacks as she dies of cancer in 1951. Before she died cells were removed from her body and cultivated in a laboratory by scientists in the hope that they could find a cure for cancer. The cells known as the HeLa line have been growing ever since, and the scientists found that they were growing in ways they could not control. The cells transformed modern medicine — the Polio vaccine — but they also became caught up in the politics of our age, shaping the policies of countries and of presidents and even becoming involved in the cold war, as scientists were convinced that in her cells lay the secret in how to conquer death…