Italian neurosurgeon Dr. Sergio Canavero and Dr. Ren Xiaoping, of China, and surgeons from other countries are planning to do the world's first head transplant in 2017. Their patient will be Valeri Spiridonov, a Russian computer scientist (video below).
Spiridonov suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman, a rare, genetic muscle disease, reports the Daily Mail.
The groundbreaking surgery will reportedly take place at Harbin Medical University in Heilongjiang, China.
"It is possible to carry out a human head transplant if the condition of pre-clinical research is as effective and sound as we expected and various supports are there for the operation in two years," Xiaoping told China National Radio, notes China Daily.
Xiaoping added that there are surgeons from China, North America and Europe who will be part of the historic procedure.
Such an operation cannot be achieved by a single man. My task is to initiate such an enormous project, which may not be solved by our generation.
But we build a platform for the followers, accelerate its progress towards clinical application, train a group of young people and even enhance the reputation of our nation in international circles.
Canavero, whose team has transplanted the heads of 1,000 mice, said that the head transplant would "change the course of human history by curing incurable medical conditions," reported China.org.cn, notes The Times Of India.
However, the mice have not lived more than one day.
Dr. Robert White, an American neurosurgeon, performed a monkey head transplant in 1970, but the monkey died after several days.
Dr. Hunt Batjer, president elect of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons, told CNN earlier this year that the spinal cord could not be connected to the transplanted human head successfully, which means the head would not be able to move or breathe.
"I would not wish this on anyone, I would not allow anyone to do it to me, there are a lot of things worse than death," Batjer stated.
Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, says the head transplant is a publicity stunt and that Canavero is "nuts."