06:08 GMT +324 January 2019
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    Russian Valery Spiridonov agrees to world's first head transplant

    First Human Head Transplant to Set 'Historic Milestone' – Chinese Surgeon

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    The surgery made headlines earlier this year when Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero announced it was only two years away. Russian computer scientist Valery Spiridonov, who suffers from an incurable muscle wasting disease, volunteered to be the first patient.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The world’s first human head transplant will set a "historic milestone" in medicine and boost a variety of medical studies including immunology, Ren Xiaoping, a surgeon conducting fundamental research behind the operation, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    "The success of this operation will set a historic milestone in medicine and give impulse to different areas of medical science," Ren said. "In terms of human development…patients will have a chance for a longer life."

    Earlier media reports said Ren would attempt the ambitious operation together with Canavero, but the Chinese scientist, who heads the microsurgical center at Harbin Medical University in China, said he had yet to discuss his cooperation with the Italian doctor.

    "We haven’t actually discussed the transplant on the Russian patient with Canavero… Nor have we set a date or place for the operation," Red told Sputnik.

    Ren, whose medical team has conducted around a thousand head transplants on mice, said they had spoken of preclinical research on head-to-body transplants with his Italian colleague at scientific conferences in Harbin and Annapolis earlier this year. He told Sputnik they were still conducting fundamental research on the subject, including the problem of immune rejection.

    The operation will reportedly involve cooling the Russian patient’s head and the donor body to extend the period during which the cells can survive without oxygen. The heads will be severed at the same time with sharp and thin blades so that the fibers in the spinal cord can be directly connected to the head.


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