Although the idea of the “clinically dead” being brought back to life by a radical medical procedure that uses stem cells and nerve excitement sounds like the opening to a 3rd spin-off series of the walking dead, I’m afraid it’s a real idea that just got some major medical backing. It was nice knowing all of you…
Indian specialist Dr Himanshu Bansal, working with Biotech companies Revita Life Sciences (as in “re-vitalize life”) and Bioquark Inc., has been granted ethical permission to recruit 20 patients who have been declared clinically dead from a traumatic brain injury. The idea is to test whether parts of their central nervous system can be brought back to life.
Scientists will use a combination of therapies, including injecting the brain with stem cells and peptides, as well as deploying lasers and nerve stimulation techniques which have been shown to bring patients out of comas.
Even though doctors and nurses the world over have strict “refuse to resuscitate” orders put in place in the event they succumb to cardiac arrest or worse (no doubt a result of witnessing the effects and consequences of both attempted and successful resuscitation first-hand) Dr. Bansal and his team believe that the brain stem cells may be able to erase their history and re-start life again, based on their surrounding tissue
This process is seen in the animal kingdom in creatures like salamanders who can regrow entire limbs.
The trial participants will have been certified dead and only kept alive through life support. They will be monitored for several months using brain imaging equipment to look for signs of regeneration, particularly in the upper spinal cord – the lowest region of the brain stem which controls independent breathing and heartbeat.
Dr Ira Pastor, the CEO of Bioquark Inc. had this to say, “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.”
The peptides will be administered into the spinal cord daily via a pump, with the stem cells given bi-weekly, over the course of a six week period.
Dr Pastor added, “It is a long term vision of ours that a full recovery in such patients is a possibility, although that is not the focus of this first study – but it is a bridge to that eventuality.”
The ReAnima Project, as it is known, has just received approval in India, and the team plans to start recruiting patients immediately.