Sergio Canavero

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Sergio Canavero is an Italian neurosurgeon who has been attempting to work towards human head transplantation.

Life and career[edit]

Canavero grew up in Turin where he studied medicine and graduated from the University of Turin. He worked for 22 years as a neurosurgeon at the University Hospital Turin, but separated from the institution in 2015 due to increased opposition to his work.[1] He was the Director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group. Canavero started to work on head transplantation in 1982.[2]

In 2013 Canavero published a protocol that he said would make human head transplantation possible naming the project “HEAVEN” (head anastomosis venture).[3] Canavero has collaborated with Xiaoping Ren of Harbin Medical University.[4] The first person to volunteer for the procedure was Valery Spiridonov, a Russian program manager, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, a muscle-wasting disease.[4] Spiridonov has been presented as a possible patient, but is not likely to be the first.[1]

In November 2017 Canavero said that he and Ren had transplanted a head between two human cadavers, done with his collaborator.[5]


Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist, has dismissed Canavero's claims, writing "Head transplants are fake news. Those who promote such claims and who would subject any human being to unproven cruel surgery merit not headlines but only contempt and condemnation."[6]


  1. ^ a b Tom Lamont (October 3, 2015). "I'll do the first human head transplant". The Guardian. Retrieved November 18, 2017. 
  2. ^ Sharon Kirkey (2017). "Head Case". National Post. Retrieved November 18, 2017. 
  3. ^ Canavero, S (2013). "HEAVEN: The head anastomosis venture Project outline for the first human head transplantation with spinal linkage (GEMINI)". Surgical neurology international. 4 (Suppl 1): S335–42. doi:10.4103/2152-7806.113444. PMC 3821155Freely accessible. PMID 24244881. 
  4. ^ a b Ross Kenneth Urken (April 26, 2016). "Doctor ready to perform first human head transplant". Newsweek. Retrieved November 18, 2017. 
  5. ^ Sharon Kirkey (November 17, 2017). "World's first human head transplant successfully performed on a corpse, scientists say". National Post. Retrieved November 18, 2017. 
  6. ^ Albert Caplan (13 December 2017). "Promise of world's first head transplant is truly fake news". Chicago Trubune. 

External links[edit]