For any given medical problem, it seems, there’s a research team trying to use stem cells to find a solution. In clinical trials to treat everything from diabetes to macular degeneration to ALS, researchers are injecting the cells in efforts to cure patients.
But in one study expected to launch later this year, scientists hope to use stem cells in a new, highly controversial way — to reverse death.
The idea of the trial, run by Philadelphia-based Bioquark, is to inject stem cells into the spinal cords of people who have been declared clinically brain-dead. The subjects will also receive an injected protein blend, electrical nerve stimulation, and laser therapy directed at the brain.
The Philadelphia-based company along with an Indian orthopedic surgeon has said it will start a new type of stem cell therapy that claims it can bring people back from the dead. Bioquark, led by chief executive Ira Pastor, said it will begin conducting trials of the therapy later in the year in an undisclosed country in Latin America, according to a New York Post report.
Pastor and Indian orthopedic surgeon Himanshu Bansal had initially hoped to run tests in India in 2016 but the Indian Council of Medical Research pulled the plug on their plans and asked them to take the trials elsewhere, the Post reported.
Most countries officially declare someone dead when there is irreversible loss of brain function. The Bioquark therapy boasts it can reboot the brain. The company said it will begin testing on humans, with no plans to experiment on animals. Scientists plan to examine individuals aged between 15 and 65 who have been declared brain dead from a traumatic brain injury, the report noted, citing a published study.
The three-stage process starts with harvesting stem cells from the patient’s own blood before injecting them back into their body. Next, the patient is given a dose of peptides injected into their spinal cord. The final step is a 15-day course of laser and median nerve stimulation while monitoring the patient with MRI scans. Bansal practices in New Delhi.