Doctors may perform world's first human head transplant in two years - Chinese and Italian transplant specialists are planning to perform the world's first human head transplant surgery on a Russian computer scientist. The surgery, they claim, has the potential to cure incurable medical conditions.
Italian Sergio Canavero will collaborate with Chinese surgeon Ren Xiaoping at a hospital affiliated to Harbin Medical University to conduct the operation.
A successful head transplant would "change the course of human history by curing incurable medical conditions," reported state-run china.org.cn quoting Canavero.
Ren generated public debate after successfully transplanting the head of a mouse to another's body in 2013. He announced plans to carry out the operation on primates this year.
Canavero and Ren have identified a 30-year-old Russian computer scientist with muscular dystrophy as the first patient. But, both accept that there are many technical difficulties with linking the nervous system, blood vessels and spinal cord so that the body does not reject the head.
Besides technical difficulties, they must also develop special equipment, instruments and surgical methods.
Wang Yifang, a medical ethics expert with the Institute of Medical Humanities at Peking University, believes there are severer ethical evaluations that need to be considered when it comes to humans.
Ren believes such experiments can help people with spinal cord injuries, cancer or muscular dystrophy in the future.