Two surgeons in China believe they may have developed a technique to perform the world's first human head transplant, CNBC reported.
The technique is being developed by Chinese surgeon Xiaoping Ren from Harbin Medical University and Italian neurosurgeon Professor Sergio Canavero, director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group who plan to shock the body with a jolt of electricity with bold attaching the head to its neck.
They are hoping their invention could one day help patients suffering with paralysis and spinal cord injuries to be able to walk again. "These patients don't currently have good strategies, their mortality is very very high. So I try to translate this technique to benefit these patients," Professor Ren said told CNBC. "That is my main strategy in the future."
During a procedure that lasted 18 hours, Chinese surgeons showed it is possible to reconnect the spine and nerves to a severed head. The first person who had initially volunteered for the procedure was Valery Spiridonov, a Russian program manager, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, but has not changed his mind to undergo the operation.
Nonetheless, critics have questioned the project's ethics. The surgeons sparked outrage after performing trial surgeries on two corpses with a Oxford University neuroscientist terming the surgery as "nothing short of criminal", according to the report.
However, Professor Ren told CNBC that they demonstrated that spinal perfusion was possible with the new technique. “These patients don't currently have good strategies, their mortality is very very high. So I try to translate this technique to benefit these patients,” Professor Ren accentuated. “That is my main strategy in the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr James Fildes, NHS Principal Research Scientist at the Transplant Centre, University Hospital of South Manchester told Science Media Centre, “Unless Canavero or Ren provide real evidence that they can perform a head . . . transplant on a large animal that recovers sufficient function to improve quality of life, this entire project is morally wrong.”