Scientists in the United States have been given the go-ahead to legally resurrect 20 brain-dead patients using advanced stem cell technology.
Participants who have been certified dead will be kept alive via life support, and monitored for several months whilst the scientists attempt to resurrect them.
Biotech company Bioquark has been tasked with stimulating and regrowing neurons in order to bring the patients back from the dead. Scientists will implant stem cells into the patient’s brain, whilst also treating the spinal cord with infusions of chemicals and nerve stimulation techniques which have previously brought people out of comas.
The team believes that the brain stem cells may be able to erase their history and re-start life again, based on their surrounding tissue – a process seen in the animal kingdom in creatures like salamanders who can regrow entire limbs.
Dr Ira Pastor, the CEO of Bioquark Inc. said:
“This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime.
“We just received approval for our first 20 subjects and we hope to start recruiting patients immediately from this first site – we are working with the hospital now to identify families where there may be a religious or medical barrier to organ donation.
“To undertake such a complex initiative, we are combining biologic regenerative medicine tools with other existing medical devices typically used for stimulation of the central nervous system, in patients with other severe disorders of consciousness.
“We hope to see results within the first two to three months.”
Commenting on the trial, Dr Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist at the Cardiff University’s Centre for Medical Education said: “While there have been numerous demonstrations in recent years that the human brain and nervous system may not be as fixed and irreparable as is typically assumed, the idea that brain death could be easily reversed seems very far-fetched, given our current abilities and understanding of neuroscience.
“Saving individual parts might be helpful but it’s a long way from resurrecting a whole working brain, in a functional, undamaged state.”