An Indian transplant expert has trashed plans of a maverick Italian neurosurgeon to carry out the first-ever attempt for a head transplant. Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero has claimed that he has developed a technique to carry out the world’s first human head transplant.
“No evidence has been available through animal experiments that this is possible. Also to our current knowledge, this seems to be not possible at present as well as in the foreseeable future,” commented Dr. Subramania Iyer, Professor and Chairman of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi.
Prof Iyer headed a team that had successfully done India’s first twin hand transplant from a cadaver donor.
Valery Spiridonov, a 30-year old Russian computer scientist, suffering from a rare spinal muscular atrophy, called Werdnig-Hoffman’s disease, has offered his head to be transplanted on to a healthy recipient’s body.
Spiridonov, according to the Indian Science Journal, has appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and others to help fund the research and operation.
He hopes to raise funds for his immediate travel to the United States to meet the surgeon.
“This could transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Where there is an opportunity, there is hope,” reports the Central European News (CEN).
“This seems to be over-hyped and made more dramatic by the media,” commented Dr. Iyer, who said several ethical, technical and physiological issues remain unanswered.
Dr Canavero requires the support of a major academic medical centre to host the surgery. He is due to present his plan to the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons at its annual conference in June. Canavero hopes to carry out the transplant in the next two years, and has already selected some specialists and paramedics to carry out the 36-ur operation.
“I would not wish this on anyone, I would not allow anyone to do it to me,” commented Dr. Hunt Batjer, President-elect of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons. “There are a lot of things, worse than death.”