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Russian programmer may get his head transplanted in US — Italian neurosurgeon

April 22, 2015, 19:25 UTC+3 ROME
Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero told TASS he was invited to present the operation's technique at a surgeon conference in Annapolis
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Russian programmer Valery Spiridonov

Russian programmer Valery Spiridonov

© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

ROME, April 22. /TASS/. The first head transplantation in history may be performed in the United States, with Russian programmer Valery Spiridonov being the main candidate for the operation, Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero told TASS on Wednesday.

Canavero said he was invited to present the operation's technique at a surgeon conference in Annapolis, Maryland, in June.

"If the operation is approved by US authorities, we will need six months to select a location and the surgery can be performed in two years," Canavero said.

He also said that Chinese surgeons researching head transplantations would also attend the conference in Annapolis.

"Just imagine: an operation in America with a Russian patient and Chinese colleagues. Even the UN has not seen such cooperation," the surgeon said.

Canavero said the surgery could be performed in China in case of the US refusal.

He added the operation could have been carried out in Russia, which boasts old transplantology traditions.

"But the Russian Orthodox Church is against it," Canavero said adding that the Vatican also obstructed his work in Italy.

"If the head transplantation is successful, it would be a real revolution," the surgeon said.

Canavero said he was planning to rely on the experience of American neurosurgeon Robert J. White known for his head transplants on living monkeys.

Spiridonov, 30, who volunteered for a risky operation, suffers from genetic muscular atrophy and is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

The idea of transplanting a donor’s head onto a body was first described by Russian science fiction writer Alexander Belyaev in his 1925 novel "Professor Dowell's Head.".

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