Remember the ‘mad scientist’ who claimed he could successfully perform head transplant on humans? Well, after receiving much flak and protest on ethical grounds in the US and Europe, he announced that finally succeeded in doing the head transplant in China!
Italian researcher Sergio Canavero had long promised to perform a head transplant in humans.
Several months ago, he even found someone who was willing to be his test subject but his plan was received with much protest even from the scientific community as many people believe this was not just dangerous but also quite unethical, even if the subjects gave their consent.
After being quiet for months, Canavero announced that he found a collaborator, Xiaoping Ren, to help in his grandiose plan.
In a press conference last November, Canavero announced that he and Xiaoping were able to successfully do the transplant between two humans. The only ‘problem’ there is that the human subjects were actually already dead.
So, does head transplant between two corpses count as successful human head transplant? Not exactly, the scientific community protests.
But even with corpse subjects, the scientific community continues to protest the ‘successful head transplant’. American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience senior editor Professor Karen Rommelfanger said that China has long been the source of controversy regarding transplants, long before Canavero entered the picture.
According to Rommelfanger, China has a long history of supposedly illegally executing prisoners just to harvest their organs without consent from them or the family.
She also said that Canavero’s supposed head transplant is actually a body transplant in that, if it actually becomes successful in live subjects, it would mean a sick and/or old person’s head (and his soul?) gets a younger, healthier body.
Canavero claimed that he successfully did the transplant twice, on two sets of corpses. He believes this is the best precursor towards doing the procedure on live subjects. Could that be happening soon? We’ll see…