In a radical trials, a biotech company is about to attempt to revive the central nervous system of 20 clinically dead patients
A team from Bioquark Inc. is set to begin a phase 1 trial attempting to revive 'dead' patients kept on life support, after being granted permission by an Institutional Review Board at the National Institutes of Health in both the US and India. Following further permission from the patients' families, the trial will be held over a 6 week period in Anupam Hospital in Rudrapur, India.
"This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime"
Termed the 'Reanima Project', the trial aims to be a proof of concept study, testing whether brain death can be reversed by an assortment of technologies. Failing actual regeneration, it also aims to test whether any of the chosen treatments can improve a number of other functions such as pulse, blood pressure and oxygen usage.
What are the treatments?
The project involves 4 treatments:
- An injection of small peptides into the spinal cord daily
- An injection of stem cells into the brain twice a week
- Nerve stimulation, delivering impulses to the median nerve
- Transcranial laser therapy. This is a non-invasive technique in which light penetrates the skull to trigger regeneration. It has already been tested on stroke and Parkinson's patients.
"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"
A learning process
The patients the study will involve are dead in the clinical sense; their brains have shut down and they are unable to breathe or circulate blood without artificial support. There are however some functions that continue to operate like waste removal and some lingering immune activity. This gives the researchers hope that they might be able to kickstart the 'dead' brain into action, as the tissue is still present. They acknowledge the fact this is a huge long shot, but it's a fascinating trial and could reveal some new insights along the way.
"Through our study, we will gain unique insights into the state of human brain death, which will have important connections to future therapeutic development for other severe disorders of consciousness, such as coma, and the vegetative and minimally conscious states, as well as a range of degenerative CNS conditions, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease"
Read more at The Telegraph