Meet Ira Pastor, the CEO of
In the coming months, Pastor’s team of doctors will attempt to bring patients back from what science considers to be an irreversible death.
Last month, Bioquark’s ReAnima project received ethical approval to experiment on 20 patients who have been pronounced clinically and legally dead, or what many refer to as brain dead.
Brain death is the irreversible and complete loss of brain function including the involuntary body functions that keep you alive. However, a body that has suffered from brain death can still be kept alive through life support.
Through the use of stem cell and peptide injections, lasers and nerve stimulation, Pastor’s team hopes to help parts of the brain and the central nervous system repair and even regrow itself in the same way that some amphibians and fish can regenerate parts of themselves — outside the world of comic books, humans are unfortunately very bad at this.
“My mother would joke that I read too many comic books growing up and watched too many science fiction films,” Pastor told NextShark, adding, “FYI — I never liked zombie movies though, so there is NO connection there.”
While endeavoring to reanimate dead brains may seem like the unbelievable plot of a sci-fi horror film, that type of experimentation may just be what the medical industry needs right now. Pastor explained:
“It’s funny, today biologists are currently studying applications of spider silk, liquid breathing, and suspended animation technologies, so I guess that science fiction eventually trickles down to reality.
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“I mean technically my industry really hasn’t ‘cured’ any disease since the days of the antibiotic. Instead, the majority of new drug approvals offer minimal to no benefit over existing therapies and we simultaneously witness paradoxical rise in the prevalence of all chronic degenerative diseases responsible for human suffering and death.”
The Philadelphia-based BioQuark, which was founded in 2007 by Dr. Sergei Paylian, specializes in developing natural biologic-based products. Within the ReAnima project, BioQuark will be partnering with Revita Life Sciences, another biotech company that specializes in stem cell therapy.
All the experimentation will be conducted on Indian patients at the Anupam Hospital in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand India, where ICU costs are only a fraction of what they are in the U.S.
“The Indian decision for the first site was a combination of economics and good regulations for conducting ‘living cadaver’ research,” Pastor explained. “Most likely the subjects will be Indian as we will only be recruiting from the hospital ICU, unless of course there are patients/families of other nationalities who happen to be living in the immediate area.”
The test subjects will have a mix of peptides pumped into their spinal cords every day for six weeks while getting stem cells injected twice a week. Lasers as well as nerve stimulation, which is typically used on coma patients, will complete the combination therapy intended to jumpstart the hyper-complex system of epimorphic regeneration, or basically the same kind of regeneration a salamander uses to regrow an entire arm.
“The tools we use are all part of existing medical science, they’re just being combined in a novel way and of course for a very novel indication.”
Each subject will then be monitored with brain imaging equipment for any changes to their brain and the upper spinal cord where heartbeat and breathing is controlled — results could show in as soon as two to three months.
The ReAnima project is now medical science’s latest chance to open the doors to curing comas, vegetative states, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease, among many others.
However, the possibilities could extend even farther beyond curing diseases.
So far, nature has set a record of nine months to grow a complete human brain (the time it takes for a baby to develop in the womb) — the ReAnima project may soon be in the territory to beat nature at its own game.
“Obviously, a complete human re-animation event is a far reaching goal, but one that we do not foresee as impossible.”
But if you really dream big, as Pastor does, there are the impossible questions about the mind as well as some of the most unexplained phenomena of the human brain that could finally see some answers:
“I personally think some of the topics related to memory recovery will be equally fascinating, and thus some potential answers to the age old question of where our mind really sits could be revealed.
“Additionally potential connections of such research to more obscure areas of neuroscience, such as ‘gain in knowledge’ events, such as in the case of induced savant syndrome, or how the mind ‘knows things it never learned’ could be revealed as an output of our programs.
“It is quite an exciting time.”