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NEW ORLEANS — Whenever a hematopoietic cell transplant patient tries to get a family member to sneak food in past the nurses, Federico Stella, a resident hematologist at the University of Milan, remembers. One was a girl who tried to get her sister to bring her a panettone, a Milanese sweet bread usually eaten around the holidays. A week before Christmas, the sister tried to hide the panettone in a bag.

“But the nurses opened the bag and, well,” Stella shrugged.

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