An Italian doctor is moving forward with plans to transplant a human head to another body, reported New Scientist.
Sergio Canavero, from the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group in Italy, told New Scientist that he will announce his project officially in June at the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons' annual meeting.
Canavero has been talking about moving the head of one person to the body of another since 2013 and has presumeably been thinking about it, and its medical and ethical hurdles, far longer.
The first successful head transplant took place in 1970, when the head of a monkey was attached to the body of another by Robert White at Wast Western Reserve University School of Medicine, New Scientist said.
The monkey lived for nine days, until the body rejected the head. Because the spinal column wasn't attached, though, it couldn't move. But times have changed, Canavero said.
"I think we are now at a point when the tehcnical aspects are all feasible," Canavero told New Scientist.
Canavero's biggest challenge would be to fuse the two spinal cords. He would rely on a substance called polyethylene glycol to do that. The chemical is known to "encourage the fat in cell membranes to mesh," said New Scientist. Cleanly cutting the cords of both bodies would be key to success, he said.
The new person would then be held in a coma for four months to encourage healing. Canavero said. The candidate could be up and walking after about a year of physiotherapy, he said.
Plenty of experts are dubious. Many doctors rebuffed New Scientist's attempts to get their opinions, saying the idea was too out there.