Indonesia Health Ministry Forms Team to Treat Man Who Sprouted Tree-Like Limbs

The Indonesian health ministry said Monday it had formed a team of specialists to treat a villager dubbed the "tree man" because he is covered with bark-like warts and has sprouted tree-like limbs on his arms and hands.

Health ministry spokesman Lily Sriwahyuni Sulistiyowati told French news agency AFP that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono asked the ministry to help the 35-year-old father of two.

The man, known only by the name Dede, was featured in a Discovery Channel documentary this month.

Click here to read the whole story and to see a photo of Dede

Nineteen specialists have been assembled to treat the man, including American Dr. Anthony Gaspari, who was initially brought in to examine Dede for the documentary.

Doctors in Indonesia have tried, but have been unable to cure Dede.

"We actually treated him for more than one year about 10 years ago despite the fact that we could not cure him, as there was no medication for this disease," Sulistiyowati told AFP.

But Gaspari, a dermatologist at the University of Maryland, believes Dede's condition is treatable, and that it is caused by the human papilloma virus plus a genetic disorder.

Gaspari thinks an ongoing supply of vitamin A may cure Dede, and is working with a pharmaceutical company to get him the necessary medications.