A U.S. biotech company has been given the green light to begin recruiting 20 brain-dead patients to test if parts of their central nervous systems can be regenerated – literally raising them from the dead.
The company, Bioquark Inc., plans to inject a cocktail of stem cells and peptides into the brains of the patients over a six-week period to see if it can jump-start their functions.
Philadelphia-based Bioquark asks on its website: “What if your body came with a restart button?”
Finding that button is the essence of the firm’s research.
The company describes its mission as “a life sciences company developing proprietary biological products for both the regeneration and repair of human organs and tissues. The company’s core program is focused on the development of novel combinatorial biologics capable of directly remodeling diseased, damaged, or aged tissues, creating micro-environments that induce efficient and controllable regeneration and repair.”
The company says it is “capable of creating dynamics in mature tissues that are normally only seen during human fetal development, as well as during limb and organ regeneration in organisms like amphibians.”
WND reported in January on the growing promise of anti-aging or “gene therapy” science, a technology known as CRISPR/Cas9, which seeks to deliver immortality to human beings. Some of the world’s richest men are investing billions in this research including Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, Ray Kurzwell of Google, Oracle founder Larry Ellison, venture capitalist Paul Glenn and Russian multi-millionaire Omitry Itskov.
Besides injecting the brain with stem cells and peptides, scientists at Bioquark say they will use lasers and nerve stimulation therapies that have been shown to bring people out of comas.
The 20 human patients will have been declared “clinically dead” due to a traumatic brain injury but kept alive on ventilators and other life support, the Telegraph reported.
They will be watched closely for about six months using brain imaging equipment that looks for signs of regeneration of the upper spinal cord, which is the lowest part of the region of the brain and controls independent breathing and heartbeat.
Military also on quest to ‘transcend’ humanity
Assistant Secretary of Defense Stephen Welby testified before the Senate recently saying the U.S. “is at a pivotal moment in history” with regard to military research, and the DoD’s DARPA unit now has 39,000 scientists and engineers working in military labs across 22 states trying to harness the latest technological advances for military application.
Christian author and filmmaker Tom Horn says scientists are redefining what it means to be human, with the goal of “transcending” humanity.
“Right here in North Carolina at your university, they have what is called a transgenic lab, which means they have mice that have human genetic material, for testing to see if the human parts in that animal are responding,” he told TV host Sid Roth in a recent interview.
Using the CRISPR gene-editing technique, one university lab cured cancer in a group of rats, but the unintended consequences were that the rats started aging very quickly and died at half-life, “and nobody knows why that happened,” Horn said. “There is a danger in playing God because you’re not God and you don’t know.”
But it’s one thing to experiment on animals and another to experiment on humans.
Searching for the ‘restart button’
The scientists at Bioquark believe the brain stem cells may be able to erase their history and restart life based on their surrounding tissue, the Telegraph reported.
Bioquark CEO Dr. Ira Pastor told the British newspaper that this represents the first trial of its kind and another step toward the “eventual reversal of death in our lifetime.”
The ReAnima Project has just been approved by a review board at the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. and in India, and the team plans to start recruiting patients immediately.
The first stage will take place at Anupam Hospital in India.
Horn has been researching and writing about transhumanism and man’s drive to achieve immortality for 20 years. His documentary, “Inhuman,” recently won a Silver Telly Award.
He said the Bioquark project’s focus on brain-stem death paints a picture reminiscent of Robin Cook’s “Coma,” where brain-dead patients are kept alive for later organ harvests.
‘Are they really dead?’
The Telegraph article points out that while someone who is “brain dead” loses many life functions, their bodies are still able to “circulate blood, digest food, excrete waste, balance hormones, grow, sexually mature, heal wounds, spike a fever, and gestate and deliver a baby,” raising the question, “Are they really dead?”
“One wonders if these alive/yet not alive humans would be considered legally ‘sentient,'” Horn says. “While the possibilities offer hope to families whose loved ones have suffered brain trauma leading to ‘death,’ it is rife with ethical and medical ambiguities.”
Horn said advances in recent years have pushed the boundaries of biotech to the place where scientists now stand at the precipice of revitalizing long-dead extinct species such as the Wooly Mammoth and Cave Lions through cloning.
“So it is not a stretch of the imagination that persons technically certified as deceased, yet still on life support, could be within range of somehow reawakening the neurons or electrical pulses of their brain associated with soul, mind, or ‘identity,'” he said.
Recently a frozen rabbit brain was brought back to life in “near perfect” condition in what was heralded as a major cryonics breakthrough.
But does a rabbit have a soul? Or does it have a soul but not an eternal spirit?
Horn says this is where the ethical dilemmas come into play.
“These are the questions philosophers and theologians have debated since the dawn of time, but in the Bible only mankind is described as having God’s breath breathed into them at the moment of their creation,” Horn said. “For conservative Christians, this should be a major point of debate regarding the ‘ethics’ of bringing people back from the dead.”
Could a person be returned alive, yet without that God-part that makes them in the “image” of their creator?
“What would they then be?” Horn asks. Would they be fully human?
“Are they a living construct no longer suitable as a fit-extension of the Holy Spirit? Or would they be fine and the miraculous science that brought them back to life celebrated by all believers? These were the type difficult questions we sought to answer in the documentary ‘Inhuman.'”
Watch trailer for the new documentary film “Inhuman”:
Carl Gallups, a Christian pastor, radio host and author of several books including “Be Thou Prepared” and “Final Warning,” said this field of research holds much promise for legitimate medical advancements – especially for neurological injuries. But, taken too far, it becomes fraught with moral and ethical questions.
The ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’
If perfected, Gallups asks, will the ability to be “brought back from the dead” be available for everyone – or just an elite few?
Imagine if a Saddam Hussein, Hitler, Stalin or ISIS leaders could “live forever.”
“What entity or governmental power will make the decisions concerning who gets their death ‘reversed’ and who must die?” Gallups asks.
Many will ask if this is not simply the ultimate step in man’s attempt to play God – deciding who will continue to live and who will not.
“There is going to be a divide between people who can afford that type of technology and those who cannot,” Horn says. “But that bothers me much less than the divide that is coming when we start talking about war fighters.”
The Jasons, described by the New York Times as one of the most elite boards of scientists in the world that offers advisory services to the Pentagon, has named “super soldier” technology as the next big arms race.
“The truth is, the defense departments of all countries would love to have the best soldier on the planet,” says Sharon Gilbert, the science adviser for SkyWatch TV. “And if rumors start going around that, hey, China’s got an artificial intelligence that they’re blending with humans and they’re starting to put chips in their soldiers and they’re giving them wolf DNA or Hawk DNA so they can run really fast and see really well and be really vicious and never have to sleep – well, we better do that, too.”
It’s the same with the new gene-editing CRISPR technology, Gilbert added.
“Scientists are being told, ‘The other countries are doing it.’ They’re not going to stop just because we are not doing it, so we have to get there, first.'”
One of the global elite’s most oft-stated concerns is overpopulation.
“If they are so concerned with the planet’s current population explosion, and continually speak of the need for a ‘culling’ of the inhabitants of the earth – what in the world would happen if everyone currently alive could live forever?” Gallups asks. “The questions are myriad, and the answers to most of them are rather disturbing.”
The scientists and journalists reporting on this emerging technology are giddy with the possibilities.
Not only do they speak of “living forever,” but also of “erasing history,” “reversing death” and “restarting life,” Gallups notes.
What does the Bible say?
But serious students of the Bible know that all of these concepts are spoken of in the ancient texts.
“The entire Gospel is founded on the understanding that Jesus Himself ‘reversed death’ and ‘arose from the grave,'” Gallups said.
And while Christ Himself offered eternal life, saying, “You too shall live forever,” Gallups said most of the scientists and technology gurus aren’t interested in an eternity spent in heaven.
“We are told in Revelation 21:5 and in Isaiah 65:17 that the mind of the child of God will eventually be made entirely ‘new’ and that the ‘old things will not come to mind anymore,'” he said.
“When I read the scientific journal articles and examine carefully what many of the researchers are actually saying regarding the exploration of these possibilities, I am reminded of that famous line from the 1931 movie ‘Frankenstein.’ Dr. Henry Frankenstein, upon the creation of his ‘monster’ exclaims, ‘Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!’
“This has been man’s desire since the Garden of Eden – it was the very first seduction Satan presented to Eve: ‘You will be like God.’ I can’t help but believe, in spite of the wonderful potential some of this technology could hold, that somehow Satan is not once again in the mix.”
Gilbert says, “It’s possible that we are looking at a modern-day cautionary tale. Victor Frankenstein used a collection of ambiguous chemicals and a spark of electricity to restore animation to dead flesh, but today’s scientists invoke the modern terms ‘stem cells,’ peptides and lasers in the hopes of restoring life where medicine says none now exists.”