FRANKENSTEIN’S monster could be about to become a reality, as a scientist has declared the path clear for the first transplant of a full HUMAN HEAD.
In a paper published recently, Dr Sergio Canavero, of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group in Italy, says advances in cell engineering mean surgeons are now theoretically able to fuse a human spinal cord.
This means it should be possible to transplant a full head successfully — just like in Mary Shelley’s classic tale.
The last previous attempt — in 1970 — saw the head of a Rhesus monkey transplanted onto another at a lab in Ohio, US.
And although the monkey did survive for eight days, it was never able to move below the neck because the ‘axons’ in its spinal cord could not be repaired.
Dr Canavero now believes he is able to do this, thanks to chemicals called ‘membrane fusogens’ or sealants.
Some of these fusogens are already commonly used for making medicines or in industrial manufacturing.
He says in the paper: “The greatest technical hurdle to such endeavor is of course the reconnection of the donor’s and recipient’s spinal cords.
“It is my contention that the technology only now exists for such linkage.
“It is argued that several up-to-now hopeless medical conditions might benefit from such procedure.”