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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

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Seething, he withdrew the paper and sent it to The Journal of the Na tional Can cer Institu te. The judges there were not as hostile, though several had trouble grasping the importance of the paper. It was finally ac­ cepted in June of 1 9 74 and appeared in print three months later, almost two years after the Russian cells ar­ rived in the U. S . and a year after the meeting at the Pur­ ple Palace. The whole experience left Nelson-Rees sour. He had been wrong to think that anyone wanted to hear this bad news, except, ironically, the Russians.

The friendly conclusion of the Bethesda confer­ ence had made him optimistic; the joint committee had gone so far as to formally agree it was "extremely impor­ tant" that the findings be published. He prepared a manu­ script and submitted it to the j ournal, which had just printed Wade Parks's conclusion that the Russian cells contained only monkey viruses . Certainly the j ournal would want its readers to know that the cells themselves were not what the Russians had claimed either. The people at the j ournal didn't see it that way.

But he was so anxious to describe his work to anyone honestly interested that when Moloney asked him to repeat the highlights of his talk, he did so cheerfully. Then, when he had finished, Zhdanov asked his question. " First of all, " said Nelson-Rees, "it means you are not in control of the situation. You do not know what cells these are. You seem to have no control over where they come from or where they are going. But more impor­ tantly these cells are one and the same, and the viruses are one and the same, and it just isn't right to be calling them six separate isolates of human cells, each carrying a virus with potential human cancer value .

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