Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Monstrous Medical Oddity turned plush toy Tabitha Teratoma

Photograph by Daniel Hubert


By Meitte Noir

There are few organisms on the planet that can incite such a spontaneous repulsion by just their mere appearance as that of the teratocarcinoma. This creature is a true monster that can only be found originating in our own bodies.

Literally meaning “monster tumor”, the taratoma is a tumor that lives inside the human body and contains complex mixtures of human cells. Disturbingly they have been reported to contain such random elements as cartilage, skin, hair, teeth, bone, eyes, limbs, brain tissue and even rudimentary nervous systems.

Although these tumors are indeed monstrous in appearance, they have also been the inspiration of some unusual items ranging from hand made crochet models, to a remarkably adorable plush toy.  In 2005 while working as a graphic designer in the media department of a large medical institution Jessica Stone began to make monster dolls as gifts for friends in her spare time.

“I received a commission to create a taratoma doll,” Jessica explained. “Of course I had never heard of a taratoma and was a bit disturbed when I found out what they were…I wasn’t quite sure how I could make that into something cute and cuddly! The first one I created was more tumor-like in shape with eyes and a little nest-like opening at one end revealing the hair and teeth.”

Jessica was approached by one of her co-workers, who was deeply interested in medical oddities of all kinds, and had seen the first tumor. She hired her to make a new but more doll-like creation.

“Thus Tabitha was born,” she continued, “and to this day she resides at the reception desk of said media department. Tabitha is made of fleece with a poly-fill stuffing. She has yarn hair and “veins”, and her teeth are made of polymer clay.”

It is interesting to note that the teratocarcinoma had an early role in stem cell and embryonic carcinoma cell research.

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August 16, 2011


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August 23, 2011

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