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Donated Organs Spread Cancer to Four Recipients

by Ben Wasserman

TUESDAY April 1, 2008 — Organs from a 15-year old teen who died a year ago from what doctors said was bacterial meningitis spread a rare lymphoma to four recipients, reported today.

WCBS-TV was cited as reporting that two organ recipients have already died from the undiagnosed lymphoma and two others are still fighting the deadly disease.

Jim and Lisa Koehne, the teen's parents who live in Sag Harbor, New York, requested an autopsy for their son and only found he actually died from a rare lymphoma. Doctors’ misdiagnosis caused lots of stress to the couple.

Doctors and hospitals are cleared of any responsibility for the spreading of cancer, but New York University and the University of Minnesota which transplanted one of the organs have now changed their policies to make sure the organ is safe.

Spreading of cancer through organ donation is not common as news media and the industry claim.  Theoretically, however, both organs and blood from a cancer patient can potentially spread cancer to the recipients.  

In laboratory, it is a common practice that cancer cells are injected in healthy animals to grow the cancer in them for a study purpose.

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