US biotechnology company called Bioquark has been given permission to recruit 20 clinically dead patients and attempt to bring their central nervous systems back to life. They hope to eliminate patients’ need to rely on machines by reanimating parts of the upper spinal cord, where the lower brain stem is located, to potentially energize vital body functions like breathing and heartbeats.
Trial participants will have been declared certified dead and kept alive solely through life support machines. “This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime,” said CEO of Bioquark Inc., Ira Pastor.
The team, who has been granted ethical permission from an Institutional Review Board at the National Institutes of Health in the US and India to begin trials on 20 subjects, is looking to recruit patients for its ReAnima Project as soon as possible.
The team will first complete a phase I trial, referred to as a non-randomized, proof-of-concept study. This will determine whether or not they are capable of reversing clinical brain death through drug administration, nerve stimulation, and laser therapy.
They’ll also be looking at whether or not they can affect any changes in the meninges of the brain, layers of tissue located between the skull and the surface of the brain. Specifically, the team will be investigating improvements in the patients’ pulse, blood oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and respiration.
“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,” Pastor noted.
The researchers are hoping that, if they can get patients’ brains to work again, and since many clinically dead can retain certain functions, like processing waste, digesting nutrients, healing wounds, and growing and maturing, people will have the chance to regain some semblance of life. But for now, the team is just trying to take it one step at a time.