We recently covered a new proposal for the first head transplant in humans. They would use a minimally traumatic cut of the spinal cord using an ultra-sharp blade (very different from what occurs in the setting of clinical spinal cord injury, where gross, extensive damage and scarring is observed) followed within minutes by chemofusion (GEMINI). The surgery is performed under conditions of deep hypothermia for maximal protection of the neural tissue. Moreover, and equally important, the motoneuronal pools contained in the cord grey matter remain largely untouched and can be engaged by spinal cord stimulation, a technique that has recently shown itself capable of restoring at least some motor control in spinal injured subjects.
Here we look at video of the monkey head transplant (arteries and veins were connected but not the spinal cord).
Dr. Robert White (Case Western University) removed a monkey head and transplanted it onto another monkey body in 1970. This scene is from the documentary “Stalin’s Ape Man”.
Scientists have been aware for over a decade that olfactory ensheathing cells (OEC) might be useful in treating the damaged spinal cord because of their unique properties. The cells have the ability to support nerve fibre growth that maintains a pathway between the nose and the brain.
The researchers established that the new nerve connections accounting for this recovery were occurring over short distances within the spinal cord and not over the longer distances required to connect the brain with the spinal cord.
In a unique collaboration between the University’s Veterinary School and MRC’s Regenerative Medicine Centre, scientists used a unique type of cell to regenerate the damaged part of the dogs’ spines. The researchers are cautiously optimistic that the work could in humans.
We’re confident that the technique might be able to restore at least a small amount of movement in human patients with spinal cord injuries but that’s a long way from saying they might be able to regain all lost function. It’s more likely that this procedure might one day be used as part of a combination of treatments, alongside drug and physical therapies.
A detailed explanation of fixing spinal cord injury
First an intro.
Spinal cord injury market in the US would only be $300 million market. This is too small for big pharma. Need to be billion or better multiple billions. Certain spinal cord injury cures would also help with Multiple Sclerosis and some other diseases.
Then about 4 minute to ten minutes describe a small molecule to stop inflammation that causes more damage to spinal injuries.
Then a 10-15 minutes he has used stem cells to make motor neurons. 99.96% pure to fix the spinal cord.
China will probably have 1 million people with spinal cord injury in 2020 (80,000 per year). One third of the spinal cord injury people in the world. The US has about 10,000 spinal cord injury patients per year.
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.