A group of scientists will conduct the first tests on reviving the dead later this year, in an attempt to see if they can be brought back to life.
The ground-breaking trial, to see if it is possible to regenerate the brains of dead people, has won approval from health watchdogs.
Indian specialist Dr Himanshu Bansal, working with Biotech companies Revita Life Sciences and Bioquark Inc, has been granted ethical permission to recruit 20 patients who have been declared clinically dead from a traumatic brain injury. The test will attempt to see if parts of their central nervous system can be brought back to life.
But can the dead can be brought back to life? It would represent a bold step forward for medical science, despite our movie-inspired fear of an impending zombie apocalypse.
The scientists will use a combination of therapies including: injecting the brain with stem cells and peptides (a chemical mix of amino acids), lasers, and nerve stimulation techniques (previously used in bringing patients out of comas).
The idea behind these theories stems from the animal world, where creatures such as salamanders can regrow entire limbs.
How it will work:
- Trial participants will have been certified dead, only kept alive through life support.
- Scientists will use their combinations of injections, lasers and stimulations.
- The peptides will be administered daily via a pump, the stem cells given bi-weekly, over a six week period.
- Participants will be monitored for several months using brain imaging equipment.
- Signs of regeneration, particularly in the upper spinal cord, will be of interests (it's the part that controls independent breathing and heartbeat).
Dr Ira Pastor, CEO of Bioquark Inc, told The Telegraph: "This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime.
"We just received approval for our first 20 subjects and we hope to start recruiting patients immediately from this first site - we are working with the hospital now to identify families where there may be a religious or medical barrier to organ donation.
"We hope to see results within the first two to three months."
According to Dr Bansal, there has already been some success with two patients in the Gulf and Europe.
"They are still in minimal conscious state, but who knows that they may come out and have responsible conscious useful human life," he said.
A person is classified as brain-dead when they no longer have any brain stem functions, and have completely lost consciousness and the capacity to breathe.
Recent studies have suggested that electrical activity and blood flow continues after brain cell death, just not allow for the whole body to function.
Dr Sergei Paylian, founder of Bioquark, added: "Through our study, we will gain unique insights into the state of human brain death, which will have important connections to future therapeutic development for other severe disorders of consciousness, such as coma, and the vegetative and minimally conscious states, as well as a range of degenerative CNS conditions, including Alzeihmer's and Parkinson's disease."
If it all goes wrong though, and the zombie takeover begins, we can only hope that national television runs Shaun Of The Dead on constant repeat to help us learn how to battle the living dead.
As for me, I'll be in the Winchester, waiting for it to all blow over.
Featured Image Credit: PA