Posts Tagged ‘Harbin Medical University’

by Andrew Griffin

The scientist who claims to be about to carry out the first human head transplant says that he has successfully done the procedure on a monkey.

Maverick neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero has tested the procedure in experiments on monkeys and human cadavers, he told New Scientist.

Dr Canavero says that the success shows that his plan to transplant a human’s head onto a donor body is in place. He says that the procedure will be ready before the end of 2017 and could eventually become a way of treating complete paralysis.

“I would say we have plenty of data to go on,” Canavero told New Scientist. “It’s important that people stop thinking this is impossible. This is absolutely possible and we’re working towards it.”

The team behind the work has published videos and images showing a monkey with a transplanted head, as well as mice that are able to move their legs after having their spinal cords severed and then stuck back together.

Fusing the spinal cord of a person is going to be key to successfully transplanting a human head onto a donor body. The scientists claim that they have been able to do so by cleanly cutting the cord and using polyethylene glycol (PEG), which can be used to preserve cell membranes and helps the connection recover.

The monkey head transplant was carried out at Harbin Medical University in China, according to Dr Canavero. The monkey survived the procedure “without any neurological injury of whatever kind,” the surgeon said, but that it was killed 20 hours after the procedure for ethical reasons.

It isn’t the first time that a successful transplant has been carried out on a monkey. Head transplant pioneer Robert J White successfully carried out the procedure in 1970, on a monkey that initially responded well but died after nine days when the body rejected the head.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_J._White

The newly-revealed success is likely to be an attempt to help generate funds for the ultimate aim of giving a head transplant to Valery Spriridonov, the Russian patient who has been chosen to be the first to undergo the procedure. Dr Canavero has said that he will need a huge amount of money to fund the team of surgeons and scientists involved, and that he intends to ask Mark Zuckerberg to help fund it.

While the scientists behind the procedure have published the pictures and the videos, they haven’t yet made any of their work available for critique from fellow scientists. That has led some to criticise the claims, arguing that it is instead “science through PR”, and an attempt to drum up publicity and distract people from “good science”.

Peers have criticised the maverick scientist for making the claims without allowing them to be reviewed or checked out. But Dr Canavero claims that he will be publishing details from the study in journals in the coming months.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/head-transplant-has-been-successfully-done-on-a-monkey-maverick-neurosurgeon-sergio-canavero-claims-a6822361.html

Thanks to Kebmodee for bringing this to the It’s Interesting community.

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The likely date and location for the first-ever human head transplant have been set, after the controversial Italian doctor that will lead the surgery said that he has selected his team of surgeons.

Radical Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero has drawn fascination and criticism after he announced plans to cut off a man’s head and put it onto another body. Many had expected that the planned operation would probably never happen – but a team has now been appointed to lead the operation.

Canavero is hoping to complete the procedure – which will take 36-hours, and cost $11 million – by December 2017, according to Russia Today.

The transplant is likely to happen in China, with a team made up largely of doctors from the country, according to AFP. That is likely to raise worries about the already highly-controversial operation, since China has been criticised for using the organs of executed prisoners without their consent.

The procedure has already drawn widespread condemnation, from doctors who say that it is likely to kill the person undergoing it, and that if he does survive he will undergo something a “lot worse than death”.

Russian Valery Spiridonov has already been selected as the recipient of the new body. He suffers from the rare, genetic Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, which gradually wastes away his muscles.

During the procedure, the donor and patient will each have their head sliced off their body in a super-fast procedure. The transplanted parts will then be stuck together with glue and stitches.

Spiridinov will then be placed in a month-long coma and injected with drugs intended to stop the body and head from rejecting each other.

Since the procedure is unprecedented, apart from mixed results in dogs and monkeys, doctors are not sure what could happen during the surgery – or how Spiridinov is likely to be if and when he wakes up.

Ren Xiaoping, who will work with Canavero to try and attempt the procedure in the next two years, said that the team will only attempt it if research and tests show that it is likely to be successful.

The operation will probably happen in China, at the Harbin Medical University, according to reports.

Since Ren refused to say where the donated body might be found, some have worried that the donated body might be taken from an executed prisoner.

In China – where the huge population and a low number of donations have led to a high demand for organs – an industry of forced donations and a black market for the sale of organs have flourished.

Canavero has said that China is keen to be involved in the procedure as a way of demonstrating its keenness for scientific research to the world, likening the race to complete the transplant to the space race. The Italian doctor has recognised that he could go to jail for performing the procedure in an unfriendly country and said that he has “been studying Chinese for a few years”.

The doctor has said that the procedure is just a first step towards his ultimate aim of immortality.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/head-transplant-team-selected-for-controversial-operation-that-will-go-ahead-in-2017-10498627.html

Thanks to Kebmodee for bringing this to the It’s Interesting community.