An Italian surgeon has said ‘full body transplants’ could be a reality in only two years.
Dr Sergio Canavero has plans to graft a living person’s head onto a donor body, and claims medical science is now sufficiently advanced to enable this procedure.
The entire process would involve successfully removing a living person’s head, re-attaching it to a donor body, reviving the person and re-training the brain to gain control of its new body.
Apparently it’s not.
Dr Canavero says the issues which previously prevented the operation — such as fusing the spinal cord and preventing the body’s immune system from rejecting the head — have been overcome, and the surgery could be completed as soon as 2017.
However, the obstacles for Dr Canavero aren’t medical or scientific — they are moral.
“The real stumbling block is the ethics,” he told New Scientist.
“Should this surgery be done at all? There are obviously going to be many people who disagree with it.
“If society doesn’t want it, I won’t do it. But if people don’t want it in the US or Europe, that doesn’t mean it won’t be done somewhere else.”
There is, however, one small hitch in Dr Canavero’s plan. According to another doctor, there is no evidence that a person could retain or regain their motor skills, even if the spinal cord was successfully re-joined.
Just a minor hiccup, right?
Dr Canavero recently published an outline of how the surgery could be performed, and hopes to launch his project at a convention for neurological surgeons in June.