By Bec Crew, Science Alert
In a controversial move, a US biotechnology company has been given permission to recruit 20 clinically dead patients and try to bring their central nervous system back to life.
If they can successfully reanimate parts of the upper spinal cord, where the lower brain stem is located, there’s a possibility that they could kick start vital body functions such as breathing and heartbeats – something these patients can only do with the help of machines.
“This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime,” CEO of Bioquark Inc., Ira Pastor, told Sarah Knapton at The Telegraph.
The Bioquark team, which together with Indian biotech company Revita Life Sciences, was granted permission from an institutional review board at the Indian and U.S. National Institutes of Health to begin clinical trials whenever they’re ready. Biquark says it plans to start recruiting patients for its so-called ReAnima Project immediately.
The phase 1 trial is described as a non-randomized, proof-of-concept study to determine whether they can reverse brain death using a combination of techniques, including drug administration, nerve stimulation, and laser therapy.
That’s the best-case scenario – failing actual reanimation of the central nervous system, the team will be investigating if they can affect any changes in the meninges of the brain – layers of tissue that sit between the skull and the surface of the brain.
In particular, the team will be looking for improvements in the…