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Subject: Dr. William Shearer, Best known for treating David Vetter, aka "Bubble Boy"

Dead at 81
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Date Posted: Sunday, October 21, 05:47:45pm

Dr. William Shearer, who treated a child called the "bubble boy" because his lack of an immune system forced him to spend his life in plastic cocoons, died earlier this month in Houston.

Dr. Shearer earned a medical degree from Washington University in 1970 and completed residencies at St. Louis Children's Hospital and Barnes Hospital. He was on the medical school faculty until 1978 when he moved to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston to take over the care of 7-year-old David Vetter, according to information from Washington University and the New York Times.

David, the Times reported, by then "had become famous for his long-term survival inside bubbles." He had severe combined immunodeficiency, an inherited disease that killed his older brother.

WashU, which honored Dr. Shearer in 2000 with its Alumni Achievement Award, called him "a renowned immunologist" who "gained worldwide attention .. for his innovative care of David" and for his research into therapies for children with HIV and AIDS.

Children born with the condition that killed David Vetter in 1984 today are treated successfully with bone marrow and stem cell transplants, the Times said. \


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