Health Ministry: Russian law doesn't allow head transplant

Domestic legislation does not allow head transplantation surgery to be conducted in Russia, a Health Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

Domestic legislation does not allow head transplantation surgery to be conducted in Russia, a Health Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

Current transplant law allows having heart, lungs, kidney, liver, marrow and other organs or tissues transplanted, Oleg Salagai said in comments on Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero's plans to perform history's first human head transplant.

Thirty-year-old programmer Valery Spiridonov, suffering from genetic muscular atrophy and confined to a wheelchair for life, is the candidate for the risky operation.

"The existing list [of organs for transplantation] does not imply transplantation of a human body," the ministry's spokesman said.

Canavero had already announced that the operation could be carried out in Russia if he received government permission. Surgery would otherwise be performed in the United States or China.

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

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

First published by TASS.

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