Having a head for longevity

BrainBridge exits stealth with ambitious goal to develop ‘world’s first head transplant system’.

Neuroscience and biomedical engineering startup BrainBridge announced today that it is developing a ‘head transplant system’ that integrates advanced robotics and AI to execute complete head and face transplantation procedures. While such advanced tech might seem to be something from a Philip K Dick novel, if successful, this system could offer new hope to patients suffering from untreatable conditions such as stage-4 cancer, paralysis, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The whole-body transplant procedure would involve transplanting a patient’s head onto a healthy, brain-dead donor body while ensuring the preservation of consciousness, memories and cognitive abilities. BrainBridge says it will employ advanced high-speed robotic systems to prevent brain cell degradation and ensure seamless compatibility, while the entire procedure will be guided by real-time molecular-level imaging and advanced AI algorithms to facilitate precise reconnection of the spinal cord, nerves and blood vessels.

Longevity.Technology: Longevity interventions, it would seem, come in all shapes and sizes, whether it’s resolving to take the stairs instead of the elevator or going all out to keep aging at bay. Coincidentally, this is something we’ve been thinking about at Longevity.Technology – classifying longevity strategies by level of intervention. This would mean that lifestyle management and dietary enhancement through supplements would be at one end of a scale that would move through disease prevention and aging reversal through to cryonics and extreme corporeal survival, finally ending at longevity escape velocity. This is still very much a work in progress, but it would be a good way to classify and compare companies in this space. BrainBridge’s ambitious head transplant platform would sit neatly in the extreme corporeal survival category.

The BrainBridge is a bold and ambitious concept; while it might seem lightyears away from where longevity research is now, it is often the most audacious ideas that secure funding. Go big or go home – when it comes to driving longevity research forward and improving transplant outcomes, BCIs, spine and nerve repair, perhaps this ambition isn’t a bridge too far.

The BrainBridge concept involves the use of the integrated robotics platform comprised of the two autonomous surgical robots, designed to perform simultaneous surgeries on two bodies, side by side, within a single setup. The company aims for its platform to leverage a proprietary chemical adhesive, polyethylene glycol, to help reconnect the severed neurons. A specialized implant placed in the epidural space behind the spine will promote neuron repair and enable the patient’s brain to form neural connections with the new body, and the BCI-equipped BrainBridge Head Band should allow the patient to communicate their needs during recovery.

“Every step of the BrainBridge concept has been carefully thought out based on extensive scientific research that has been conducted and published by experts in various fields of science,” said Hashem Al-Ghaili, project lead at BrainBridge. “The goal of our technology is to push the boundaries of what is possible in medical science and provide innovative solutions for those battling life-threatening conditions. Our technology promises to open doors to lifesaving treatments that were unimaginable just a few years ago.”

And opening doors is exactly what BrainBridge wants to do by exiting stealth today.

“We are coming out of stealth with this announcement today to share our technology plans and attract the attention of the best minds in science and engineering to join our team,” explained Al-Ghaili. “Their expertise will be invaluable in overcoming the upcoming challenges and bringing this life-changing technology to patients in need.”

Currently focusing on the development and refinement of the initial concept, BrainBridge’s next steps include comprehensive feasibility studies using advanced AI-powered simulation models. These simulations aim to refine the surgical process, predict outcomes, and optimize patient recovery protocols, ensuring the highest success rates and minimizing risks associated with the procedure.

We’ll certainly be keep an eye on BrainBridge’s progress; Hashem Al-Ghaili, project lead at BrainBridge, told us that once the team is fully assembled and obtains promising results from the feasibility studies, then the roadmap to conducting the first surgery would be possible within 8 years. Less than a decade – that’s a timeframe to get your head around.

Photographs and video courtesy of BrainBridge/Hashem Al-Ghaili