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January 4, 1985

'Bubble Boy'

Author Affiliations

Rush Medical School Chicago West Suburban Hospital Medical Center Oak Park, Ill

JAMA. 1985;253(1):78-80. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350250086030

David, the "Bubble Boy" was born on Sept 21, 1971. Because he had an even chance of developing severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID), the disease that had killed his brother, he was delivered by cesarean section into a sealed chamber. Frequent newspaper reports during the succeeding years described a growing David and ever-larger sterile plastic chambers—the "bubbles." A combination of extraordinary and imaginative technology, medical care by the team at Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, as well as the devotion of his own family allowed David to remain free of contact with organisms and, so, free of disease. He celebrated his 12th birthday "with a family party, a chocolate cake and a Roman Catholic communion using a sterilized wafer" (New York Times, Sept 22, 1983, p A-14). He was the oldest "untreated" survivor of SCID.

Despite transplantation on Oct 21, 1983, of bone marrow previously treated using