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By Michael Gold

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Additional resources for A conspiracy of cells: one woman's immortal legacy and the medical scandal it caused

Sample text

They de­ cided to rescue the field by setting up a central cell bank, a Fort Knox for cell cultures. Not just any cell cultures, you understand, only those with clearly defined charac­ teristics and carefully documented histories . No shad­ owy pasts allowed, no vagabond cells that had wandered from one nameless lab to another. With the help of the National Cancer Institute, which was also beginning to worry about the quality of cell cultures, the group an­ nounced in 1 962 that the nation's "reference cells " would be housed at the American Type Culture Collec­ tion, a private supplier of biological materials in Wash­ ington, D .

He learned to be disci­ plined and neat. He could do anything they asked of himi he just didn't feel a part of it. And he was happiest when he escaped. Whenever he could, Walter ran off to a sec­ tion of the Black Forest that surrounded his school . There in the woods he and a friend built tree houses and pre­ tended they were exploring the dark continent. Some­ times Walter would tell stories out of adventure books he had read or describe the real-life dreamland of Cuba. No one spat at Walter as they spat at the little Jewish boys who were forced to wear Stars of David, and he was thankful for that.

Victor Zhdanov was Moloney's counterpart, the senior scientist on the Russian side who had organized the presentation of the cell cultures. Nelson-Rees felt honored by the request . But as the excitement of the phone call wore off, as he looked over his notes of the conversation, he also began to feel vexed. " Keep this from offending the Russians . " It occurred to him that no one was genuinely interested in his work. As I n the Purple Palace far as Nelson-Rees could tell, Moloney's deputies had for the past few months concerned themselves only with the awkward ironies and procedural infringements that it had stirred up.

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