Biotechnology is an industry that is always leaving us speechless with their latest technology and procedures to save lives. We see heart transplants regularly now, which is something we would have never considered 50 years back. Face transplants are also extensive procedures that have proven very successful. Although we have a long way to go to find cures for many terminal diseases, it is obvious that that biology and technology go hand-in-hand in providing lifesaving procedures.
A physician in Italy, Sergio Canavero, is ready to tackle a very complex surgery that has never been attempted before. He will conduct a head transplant for Valery Spiridonov, who suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman Disease. Werdnig-Hoffman disease is a form of spinal muscular atrophy that leads to symmetrical weakness and wasting of voluntary muscle. There is currently no cure to this disease and most patients who suffer from it are left wheelchair bound and with limited movement.
If successful, this would be the world’s first head transplant! It is a very complex surgery since you’re removing someone’s head and attaching it to another body while also connecting all the spinal cords and nerves. It is a very ambitious procedure that will require a lot of preparation and technology exclusively for this procedure.
To prepare the patient for this life changing surgery, Canavero has prepared a virtual reality system that will prepare the patient for his new life in this new body. Inventum Bioengineering Technologies, a US company, has provided the Virtual Reality system that will allow Spiridonov to experience the sensation of having a different body.
The surgery itself is already planned. This is something that has never been tried because of the risks that come with severing vital organs of our body. We wish him all the success and maybe this will be the start of new life saving surgeries.