(VOCATIV) — No, it’s not science fiction. Indian researchers are embarking on a study to try to literally revive the brain dead. A person is both medically and legally dead when the brain stops working, an irreversible condition known as brain death. Now, if one group of scientists have their way, the definition of death might get a bit more complicated—they are kicking off a clinical trial in which they will try to regenerate a portion of the brain in 20 people with brain death.
The experiment, called the Reanima project, will be conducted by researchers from two India-based biotech companies—Bioquark and Revita Life Sciences—on a new drug formula called BQ-A-001. The drug contains stem cells that researchers hope will grow into useful neurons, along with a number of different proteins and peptides that will break down damaged cells and create a microenvironment in which the stem cells can mature. The researchers plan to use this drug along with neurological interventions already used on brain dead patients, such as Transcranial Laser Therapy and Median Nerve Stimulation. Inspired by organisms like salamanders that can regrow severed or damaged tails, Bioquark researchers have been developing regenerative treatments for a host of uses, from cancer to spinal cord injuries.