Alcor Working on Field Perfusion for Remote Cryonics Cases

The state of infrastructure technologies in the cryonics industry is improving slowly over time. Most organizations in the community are volunteer based, which puts a greater burden on the few professional groups to work on research and development. Nonetheless, cryonics today is a more reliable undertaking than at any point in the past decades of its existence as an option, even if there is still a lot of room for improvement. That improvement can only arrive rapidly given an expansion of the industry, however, something that has stubbornly refused to occur for a long time now:

For decades Alcor has welcomed members residing overseas, and pledged to attempt to cryopreserve members who suffer legal death while traveling outside the United States. However options for responding to overseas cases have been very limited. Historically there has been a choice between shipping on water ice near 0 degrees Celsius (with or without blood replacement) and attempting subsequent cryoprotective perfusion at Alcor to eliminate or minimize ice formation, or so-called "straight freezing" to dry ice temperature of -79 degrees Celsius without cryoprotective perfusion and shipping to Alcor.

Cryoprotective perfusion after a prolonged period of cold ischemia is usually very difficult, typically leading to the difficult decision to "straight freeze" overseas cases to dry temperature prior to shipping. Freezing without cryoprotectant is extremely damaging to tissue. About all that can be said for it is that it is better than the alternative of not being cryopreserved at all.

There is now a better alternative. Alcor has developed a simple system for perfusing cryoprotectant solution in a remote field setting instead of requiring patients to first arrive at Alcor's facility. After completion of this field cryoprotection, patients can be cooled to dry ice temperature (-79 degC) for shipment to Alcor with less time urgency and a slower rate of biological damage than at 0 degrees. Once at Alcor, cooling is resumed to the temperature of liquid nitrogen (-196 degC) at which temperature tissue is stable for practically unlimited lengths of time.

Alcor's initial implementation of field cryoprotection is still crude compared to cryoprotective perfusion in Alcor's operating room. Temperature and pressure control are limited, the cryoprotectant concentration rises more rapidly than is ideal, and the perfusion time is comparatively brief. Very importantly, the present field cryoprotection procedure only perfuses the head and brain with cryoprotectant, so the body of whole body members receiving field cryoprotection will still be frozen without cryoprotectant. However, this is obviously a better outcome than the entire body, including the brain, being frozen without cryprotectant.



Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.