Doctor Predicts the First Human Head Transplant Could Happen by 2017

A neurosurgeon believes the time will soon come when a living person’s head will be able to reattach to a donor body. In a theory Sergio Canavero published, he outlines medical science that could make a human head transplant possible within the next two years. He has championed the controversial procedure since 2013 and is actively recruiting sponsors for the project, according to a report from Mashable.

Canavero hopes that head transplants will one day help people who suffer from degenerative muscle diseases and cancer patients, who would benefit from receiving a healthier donor body.

In an article published in Surgical Neurology International, Canavero said the biggest obstacle to making the full-body transplant a reality is the challenge of reattaching the severed spinal cords without damaging them.

So, Canavero created a theoretical procedure he calls “GEMINI SCF.”

He outlines the procedure through which he could chemically fuse the two spinal cords back together successfully. He believes the proposed method would cause minimal damage to the cord and preserve the neurological pathways that form human motor skills.

He plans to launch the project at the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons in June.

A similar operation was performed somewhat successfully on two monkeys in 1970 by Dr. Robert White. White transplanted the head of one rhesus monkey onto the body of the other. The monkey who received it died nine days afterward.

White’s shocking project faced criticism for the grotesque nature and execution of the experiment. Canavero likewise expects to go up against much opposition, and may not even find a country that will allow him to attempt the operation at all.