Prof who died of plague may have had other condition

February 25, 2011 2:06:14 PM PST
A University of Chicago professor who died from what's suspected to be the plague had a hidden medical condition that could have contributed to his death.

Malcolm Casadaban, 60, was working with a weakened strain of bacteria that causes the plague. He was trying to develop a stronger vaccine.

The molecular genetics professor got sick and died in September of 2009.

Autopsy results reveal Casadaban had a medical condition, which causes an excessive buildup of iron in the body. Doctors say the plague bacteria needs iron to survive.