Graft a head on a body. The project of an Italian neurologist should be presented soon at an international conference. Many technical and ethical questions remain.

n 2013, the Italian neurologist Sergio Canavero had made ​​about him by publishing an article in the journal Surgical Neurology International. He stated that graft a whole body on a head could be two years. This procedure could allow quadriplegics to regain the use of a functional body. Two years after the publication of this article, the doctor still hopes to present his project this year, before the meeting of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, to be held in June. Previous monkey

The neurologist think this is feasible in view of the success achieved in animals. In the 1970s, after a long series of experiments, the American scientist Robert White had successfully transplanted the head of a monkey onto the body of another animal of the same species.

He had survived two days, but thereafter, the life of other animals guinea pigs was significantly lengthened. Nevertheless, they remained paralyzed because the team of scientists could never resolve the problems associated with injury to the spinal cord.

Taking this work, Dr. Canavero, University of Turin, said that techniques to perform the spinal cord reconnections have since greatly improved. He would have developed a surgical procedure that would merge the spinal marrow donor and recipient.

Graft rejection

What is certain is that the assumption of such an operation raises many questions within the scientific community. From the beginning of his project yet scientifically yet seemed to have all the answers: ” The head of the recipient will be placed hypothermia. After the head of the recipient are stick on the donor’s body, it will reconnect the marrow and various tissues. If the patient survives the operation, it will then it began a long convalescence. The hardest part is to restore the continuity of the spinal cord, this detail is now set through the use of chemical materials that restore the links between nerve fibers, “he exliquait.

But some of his colleagues are concerned about the risk of graft rejection. Certain organs of the body such as the liver or the spleen, may not recognize the new brain. The body may thus “reject” the head. And anti-rejection treatment used today by all grafted person may not be sufficient in such an extreme case. Ethical issues and practices
Beyond the feasibility of the project, are the ethical issues it raises that divide the scientific community. Some fear drifts over the long term, for example, that the rich and elderly, but healthy, want to benefit, for a younger body. And if the recipient wants to have a child? His descendants will be the donor’s body, further complicating things a little more. These questions still remain completely hypothetical, as this will require practical means and significant financing, as Dr. Canavero has not yet obtained.