An American biotech company has been cranted ethical permission by an Institutional Review Board in both the United States and India to use 20 brain-dead patients for a highly controversial study. Starting next year, they will stimulate the patient’s nervous systems in order to restart brain activity.
Yes, like zombies.
Bioquark is hoping that it’s ominously movie-like ReAnima project will determine if people can be brought back from the dead.
Little is known about how realistic the company’s efforts are, however the panel of experts associated with the project includes Dr. Calixto Machado, a world-renown neurological researcher and member of the American Academy of Neruology who has dedicated his life to the study of brain death.
— IraSamuel Pastor (@IraSamuelPastor) April 20, 2016
Testing protocols include a combination of stem cell injections to the brain, spinal cord infusions, and nerve stimulation techniques on the participants, all of whom have been medically certified ad brain dead and whose physical bodies are being kept alive only through life support equipment.
For several months after each treatment, the team will monitor the patients brain activity for several months, looking for signs of neurological reactivation and regeneration, primarily in the upper spinal cord, that controls the lowermost part of the brain stem. That part of the brain stem is directly responsible for cardiopulmonary functions – the heart and lungs.
“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,” said Ira Pastor, the CEO of Bioquark Inc. “We hope to see results within the first two to three months.”
For background, the human nervous system is a bioelectrochemical system, meaning it uses biologically created chemicals called neurotransmitters to transmit signals throughout the body. Coma patients have long been known to respond to electrical stimulation, but there is little to no research on what happens after brain death, as neurons begin to degenerate.
That’s where the team hopes to unlock the miracle of stem cells, which are capable of developing into any cell in the human body – even to regenerate as a neuron. Already, researchers have been able to get stem cells to regenerate damaged hearts, pancreas’, eyes, and brain tissue – but it’s all been done in animal testing. Until now.
Trials begin at Anupam Hospital in Rudrapur, India with participants getting a non-stop cocktail of peptides and bi-weekly stem cell injections.
“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,” Pastor added. “But it is a bridge to that eventuality.”