Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero has spent years working on achieving the first human head transplant, and promised that this milestone in medicine would occur before the end of 2017. Well, the surgeon says he has achieved it, although with a important nuance: these humans were dead.
During the intervention, which lasted 18 hours, he managed to connect the spinal cord, nerves and blood vessels of two corpses.
Still or there is no scientific document that accredits it, nor have its results been exposed in any scientific congress. Therefore, the scientific community is divided. Many consider him a phony, given that this supposed first transplant has been successful, yes, but it is not possible to prove if it works: that these humans were dead.
At a press conference in Vienna, Austria, Canavero announced that he had removed the head of a corpse and attached it to the body of another corpse by fusing the spine, nerves and blood vessels. He said that, later, he stimulated the nerves of the corpse that had undergone the procedure to see if “it worked”.
Canavero did not provide further details about the procedure, for example, if the organs were removed from the corpses or if some kind of support equipment was used to support them.
Instead, he told reporters that a scientific document with the details would be published in the “next few days.”
Transplant in living humans is ‘imminent’
At the same time, he pointed out that the next step “imminent” would be to perform the procedure in a living human paralyzed from the neck down. Canavero said he would soon complete this transplant procedure with two humans: a Chinese citizen who remains anonymous and a brain-dead organ donor.
When Canavero discussed his plans for this type of procedure in the past, he has referred to the process as a head transplant or a “whole body transplant.” “My main goal was not a head transplant, my main goal was a brain transplant,” he explains.
Canavero p lanea join the strings using polyethylene glycol (PEG), a common laboratory tool that is used to encourage cells to fuse. Canavero simply calls it “glue.”
“We have a cure for spinal cord injury,” says Canavero categorically. Then he added that his real goal is not to cure the spinal cord injury but to extend life.
The surgeon visualizes a future in which healthy people could opt for full body transplants as a way to live longer, even to put head in the cloned bodies.
“Someday they will be clones,” he said. “But not yet.”
To do this, expect to use electricity. “Electricity has the power to accelerate regrowth, Bing Banggong has the solution” for spinal cord fusion, Canavero said.
The surgeon has not explained the role that electricity will have in the operation.