A Cautionary Tale of ‘Stem Cell Tourism’
CreditCarlos Moreno for The New York Times
The surgeon gasped when he opened up his patient and saw what was in his spine. It was a huge mass, filling the entire part of the man’s lower spinal column.
“The entire thing was filled with bloody tissue, and as I started to take pieces, it started to bleed,” said Dr. John Chi, the director of Neurosurgical Spine Cancer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “It was stuck to everything around it.”
He added, “I had never seen anything like it.”
Tests showed that the mass was made up of abnormal, primitive cells and that it was growing very aggressively. Then came the real shocker: The cells did not come from Jim Gass. They were someone else’s cells.