The world’s first full-body transplant – in which someone’s head would be sewn onto a donor body – could take place in just two years, according to a controversial surgeon.

Sergio Canavero, of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group in Italy, believes the technique could save the lives of people riddled with cancer or whose nerves and muscles have wasted away, the New Scientist magazine reported.

The operation was carried out on a monkey with a limited degree of success in 1970. The surgeons then did not join the spinal cord so the animal could not move and it lived only nine days until the head was rejected by the body’s immune system.

However Mr Canavero said: “I think we are now at a point when the technical aspects are all feasible.

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