Researchers successfully completed a head transplant on a monkey in China, according to Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero, who hopes to perform the procedure on a human by 2017.
Canavero has been working with a team of scientists to perform experiments on monkeys, mice and human cadavers, Express reports.
Canavero caused a media storm in 2015 when he revealed his plans to attempt transplanting a human head, according to Seattle PI. The surgeon reportedly believes the operation can cure paralysis.
“It’s important that people stop thinking this is impossible,” Canavero told the New Scientist, according to Seattle PI. “This is absolutely possible, and we’re working towards it.”
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The surgeon says his experiments will be published in future issues of scientific journals. While the papers have not yet been revealed, a picture allegedly from the latest operation has been released.
In the image, a monkey can be seen with stitches around its neck.
According to Canavero, he and other researchers managed to connect the blood supply through the head and body, but did not connect the spinal cord.
The monkey reportedly survived the procedure. However, it was only kept alive for 20 hours after the operation for ethical reasons.
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It’s not known if the animals feel pain following the surgery.
Canavero has claimed that the Chinese have already performed the first human head transplant; however, he refused to show pictures as proof.