This article originally appeared and was published on AOL.com
An Italian neurosurgeon claims he will be able to ‘wake up’ patients who have had their brains cryogenically frozen and give them new bodies within three years, according to the Telegraph.
Professor Sergio Canavero, Director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, says he hopes to carry out the first human head transplant ever within the next 10 months.
The willing recipient is Valery Spiridonov, a 31-year-old Russian computer specialist who has Werdnig-Hoffmann disease which typically causes the body to deteriorate to the point of death.
Although Canavero is spearheading the radical procedure, he will be assisted by Xiaoping Ren, a Chinese surgeon who helped perform “the first successful hand transplant.”
If this groundbreaking head transplant is successful, Canavero says he wants to begin trials on brain transplants, a procedure which would involve thawing out cryogenically frozen brains and inserting them into donor bodies.
Despite Canavero’s prediction of a “90 percent plus” chance of success, other doctors have criticized his effort as being ethically questionable “junk science.”
One critic went as far as to say that if Spiridonov dies during the surgery — which many warn is a likely outcome — the two doctors should be prosecuted for murder.
If the procedure ends up being a success and Canavero gets the green light to start defrosting frozen brains and bringing them back to life, may we suggest Walt Disney get a fast pass to the front of the line?
Professor Canavero has spoken out to say that Russian candidate Valery Spiridonov, who for a long period was considered for being the first transplant patient, will not be the first person whose head will receive a new body.
“The first patient will be Chinese,” he told German magazine OOOM in an exclusive interview.
Further, the team of doctors performing the procedure will be led on site by Dr. Xiaoping Ren of Harbin Medical University, a close friend of Canavero’s and an “extraordinarily capable surgeon.”
According to Canavero, the team of doctors and scientists readying to perform the procedure have achieved major successes in the past months and that his outlook is optimistic.
“At the present I can only disclose that there has been massive progress in medical experiments, which would have seemed impossible even as recently as a few months ago,” he continued. “The milestones that have been reached will undoubtedly revolutionize medicine. That much I can already say. We have just submitted the results of these studies for publication in renowned scientific medical journals, so we do not wish to anticipate anything.”
Canavero further stated that Dr. Ren and his team would communicate details in the near future. There are reportedly “various candidates” for the first head transplant, which Canavero said “is not surprising, considering that a high number of volunteers from all over the world came forward.”
“However, the final decision is only made immediately prior to the operation, as it also depends on the body donor, who has to be compatible with the receiver in many ways.”
In the mean time, Canavero is already planning his next pioneering project.
“We are preparing the world’s first brain transplant, and I consider it realistic that we will be ready in three years, at the latest,” he told OOOM.
“A brain transplant has many advantages: firstly, there is barely any immune reaction, which means the problem of rejection does not exist. The brain is, in a manner of speaking, a ‘neutral’ organ. If you transplant a head with vessels, nerves, tendons and muscles, rejection can pose a massive problem. Not in the case of the brain. What may be problematic, however, is that no aspect of your original external body remains the same. Your head is no longer there, your brain is transplanted into an entirely different skull.”
For the sake of Walt Disney, we hope he’s successful.
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