Beijing, Jan 22: Maverick neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero, who claims to be about to carry out the first ever head transplant on human, has successfully carried out the same on a monkey. The experiment was carried out at the Harbin Medical University in China. The monkey survived the procedure without any complications, but was killed 20 hours after the operation because of ethical reasons.
Canavero says that the procedure will be in place by 2017 and will eventually lead the way to treat complete paralysis of the body. "It's important that people stop thinking this is impossible. This is absolutely possible and we're working towards it," he says in an interview with a science magazine.
Fusing the body and the spinal chord is the key to success rates in such surgeries. The scientist claims that this can be done by clearly cutting the chords and using polyethylene glycol (PEG) that can be used to preserve the cell membranes and helps the connection recover.
THis is however not the first time that a successul transplant has been carried out on a monkey. Head transplant pioneer Robert J White had successfully carried out a similar surgery when the monkey responded well initially, but died after 9 days after the body started rejecting the head.