Norma D. Peterson, A-1547, a non-confidential neuropreservation member was pronounced on February 22, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. The same day she became Alcor’s 156th patient.
On Wednesday, February 20 2018, Alcor received a Telemed alert about a patient in Redwood City, California. Norma Peterson was a hospice patient living in a memory care nursing home. Her daughter was in contact with Alcor in the weeks before about moving the patient to Arizona. On the evening of February 21st, Norma developed labored breathing and an elevated heart rate. The hospice nurse onsite thought death was very close and called Alcor. Medical Response Director Josh Lado and experienced contractor Eric Vogt flew with the field neuro cryoprotection kit.
On initial assessment and discussions with family and Alcor Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Harris, it was decided to transport the patient to Arizona. The patient appeared to have stabilized sufficiently to make this possible. A medevac jet was arranged for that evening. The patient arrived at the local hospital in Phoenix, AZ at 00:58 hrs. on Thursday, February 22nd. At 12:51 hrs., the hospital nurse contacted Lado stating the patient was not doing well and the nurse believed death was imminent. Lado and Vogt responded to the hospital and performed stabilization protocols for the patient.
The patient was transported to Alcor where the team and surgeon were waiting. The surgeon performed neuro separation and cannulation. Perfusion was stopped at 23:55 hrs. when she was moved into cooldown. On Tuesday, February 27th, she was taken for a CT scan and Alcor will determine the degree of success of the perfusion surgery.
From Alcor President, Max More
March 13, 2018
In December 2015, 21st Century Medicine, Inc. published peer-reviewed results of a new cryobiological and neurobiological technique, aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation (ASC) that provides strong proof that brains can be preserved well enough at cryogenic temperatures for neural connectivity (the connectome) to be completely visualized. This week the Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF), after independent evaluation by neuroscientists and Dr. Ken Hayworth, President of the BPF, awarded The Large Mammal Brain Preservation Prize to 21st Century Medicine based on these results. In 2016 the company had been previously awarded the Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize for work using the same technology.
Many people are wondering whether Alcor plans to adopt the “Aldehyde-Stabilized Cryopreservation” (ASC) protocol used to win the prize and what the win means for cryonics in practice. Alcor’s position is as follows:
We are pleased that vitrification, the same basic approach that Alcor Life Extension Foundation has utilized since 2001, is finally being recognized by the scientific mainstream as able to eliminate ice damage in the brain during cryopreservation. Alcor first published results showing this in 2004. The technology and solutions that Alcor currently uses for vitrification (a technology from mainstream organ banking research) were actually developed by the same company that developed ASC and has now won both the Small Mammal and Large Mammal Brain Preservation Prize.
ASC under the name “fixation and vitrification” was first proposed for cryonics use in 1986. ASC enables excellent visualization of cellular structure – which was the objective that had to be met to win the prizes – and shows that brains can be preserved well enough at low temperature for neural connectivity to be shown to be preserved. Current brain vitrification methods without fixation lead to dehydration. Dehydration has effects on tissue contrast that make it difficult to see whether the connectome is preserved or not with electron microscopy. That does not mean that dehydration is especially damaging, nor that fixation with toxic aldehyde does less damage. In fact, the M22 vitrification solution used in current brain vitrification technology is believed to be relatively gentle to molecules because it preserves cell viability in other contexts, while still giving structural preservation that is impressive when it is possible to see it. For example, note the synapses visible in the images at the bottom of this page.
While ASC produces clearer images than current methods of vitrification without fixation, it does so at the expense of being toxic to the biological machinery of life by wreaking havoc on a molecular scale. Chemical fixation results in chemical changes (the same as embalming) that are extreme and difficult to evaluate in the absence of at least residual viability. Certainly, fixation is likely to be much harder to reverse so as to restore biological viability as compared to vitrification without fixation. Fixation is also known to increase freezing damage if cryoprotectant penetration is inadequate, further adding to the risk of using fixation under non-ideal conditions that are common in cryonics. Another reason for lack of interest in pursuing this approach is that it is a research dead end on the road to developing reversible tissue preservation in the nearer future.
Alcor looks forward to continued research in ASC and continued improvement in conventional vitrification technology to reduce cryoprotectant toxicity and tissue dehydration. We are especially interested in utilizing blood-brain barrier opening technology such as was used to win the prize.
It may remain unclear to some whether this research and associated prizes show whether ASC or current vitrification without pre-fixation is more likely to preserve cell structures and molecular structures necessary for memory and personal identity. What we can note is that Robert McIntyre, the lead researcher on ASC at 21st Century Medicine, made a point during his presentation at the Alcor 2015 Conference of recommending against adoption of ASC in cryonics at this time.
For cryonics under ideal conditions, the damage that still requires future repair is now more subtle than freezing damage. That damage is believed to be chiefly cryoprotectant toxicity and associated tissue dehydration. It’s time for cryonics debate to move past ill-informed beliefs of “cells bursting.”
This is a groundbreaking result that further strengthens the already strong case that medical biostasis now clearly warrants mainstream scientific discussion, evaluation, and focus.
For a more detailed statement, and one that Alcor endorses, see:
A-1988, a confidential neuro member, was pronounced on January 21, 2018 in Ottawa, Canada. The following day she became Alcor’s 155th patient.
On Friday, January 19, 2018, Alcor received a Telemed alert about a member in Ottawa, Canada. On Wednesday, January 17th, the patient was feeling tired. On Thursday, she was unable to get out of bed and feeling even more tired. The patient was taken to the hospital Friday morning. Doctors were afraid her liver was bleeding. A CT scan showed no bleeding and she was admitted to the hospital onto a non-monitored floor. Later in the day, Alcor was updated that she was feeling better and had more energy.
The patient had a history of breast cancer that she was able to overcome 15 years ago. She was diagnosed 2.5 years ago with non-small cell lung cancer. The cancer spread to brain, spine, and liver. The cancer responded from traditional treatments with only the liver showing signs of cancer on the scans. Treatment moved to experimental drugs.
On Saturday, January 20th, Alcor received an update about the patient. She was doing better. She had more energy and was eating lunch. Her next experimental drug trial was due to begin on January 24, 2018 and doctors felt she would still be able to begin the trial.
On Sunday, Alcor received a phone call at 08:33 am (AZ time) stating that the patient had died. The hospital found the patient without vital signs and doctors declared her deceased at 08:30 am. Immediate actions were set into motion by Alcor to fly to Ottawa to perform field neuro cryoprotective perfusion. The team flew from Scottsdale, AZ to Vernal, UT to pick up Josh Lado from vacation. The team landed in Ottawa and went to the funeral home. Field neuro cryoprotective surgery and perfusion was performed by Josh Lado and Aaron Drake with the assistance of Steve Graber and Eric Vogt. Perfusion went well and the patient was cooled with dry ice.
The team left Ottawa on Monday morning. Upon arrival back at Alcor, the patient was placed into the cooldown dewar and the computer system was initiated. Once cooldown is completed, Alcor will perform CT scans to determine the degree of success of the perfusion.
Fortunately, the family was able to afford a charter flight — shown in these photos — thereby greatly reducing travel time and making field cryoprotection possible.
A-3079, a confidential Whole Body member, was pronounced on November 15, 2017 in Nice, France. The patient arrived in Phoenix, AZ on Tuesday the 28th on dry ice and was transported to Alcor. Once at Alcor, she was immediately prepped for cool down with liquid nitrogen. Cool down was completed on December 3rd.
Alex Arevalo, a public, neuro member, was pronounced on October 20, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona and became Alcor’s 153rd patient the same day.
Alcor received an emergency text on October 20th just before 10:00 (all times are Mountain Time in 24-hour format). We were alerted that Alex Arevalo was suffering from a stroke. He had a previous stroke in January of 2017. Contact was made with Peggy, his wife. She stated he was unable to speak or to move his right hand, and suffered from right-sided facial droop. They were currently located in Las Cruces, NM and he was being transported to the closest stroke center in Tucson, AZ.
Josh Lado, Director of Medical Response, was traveling to Tucson that morning on personal business. He traveled to the hospital to which Alex had been flown and made contact with the attending physician in the Emergency Department. She stated that they had performed a CT scan and she didn’t believe that the patient’s brain was receiving any significant blood flow. The patient had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke at the brain stem. Josh called Alcor’s Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Harris to inform him and determine the best course of action.
Dr. Harris and Josh agreed that the patient should be taken off ventilation immediately to allow legal death by cardiopulmonary criteria to occur. He was extubated at 13:50. Josh called Dr. Harris and the decision was made not to perform any cryoprotectant perfusion once the patient was at Alcor and to perform a straight freeze. This decision was made because of the inability to perfuse the brain due to the hemorrhagic stroke and associated warm ischemia that had already occurred, and the chance that added pressure would cause more damage inside the patient’s brain.
Alex’s vital signs significantly changed at 18:57 as his heart rate decreased, rhythm changes occurred, blood pressure spiked, and oxygen levels dropped significantly. Legal death was declared at 19:18. Alex had ice placed around the head and neck and preparations began for transport. Once paperwork was finished, hospital staff helped move the patient to the transport vehicle and assisted in moving him into the Ziegler case.
Four bags of ice were placed in the case to precool the metal box. 35 pounds of ice was added around his entire body. This was to ensure the ice wouldn’t melt by the first stop just outside of Tucson. The patient left the hospital at 20:11 to head back to Alcor. The first stop to check for ice was at 20:36, and five pounds of ice was added. The second stop was at 21:33 and 5 more pounds were added. The reason for making two stops for ice was the limited space around the head for ice, between the wadded body bag corners and the case having 45 degree corners at head and foot. There was plenty of ice but Josh wanted to ensure continued cooling. The patient arrived at Alcor just after 22:30. Surgery was performed for neuro separation and cool down began right away.
New case report published on a case that took place on February 22, 2017. A-2998 Full report.
At the 2017 Annual Meeting, cryopreservation minimums were left unchanged, remaining at the levels set in 2011. These minimums remain:
Neuro: $80,000 (or $100,000 to receive a waiver of the $180/year Comprehensive Member Standby fee).
Whole Body: $200,000 (or $220,000 to receive a waiver of the $180/year CMS fee).
Here are the results of the elections at the Alcor Annual Meeting on September 16, 2017:
All directors were unanimously re-elected:
Ralph Merkle, Ph.D.
Mike O’Neal, Ph.D.
Michael Riskin, Ph.D., CPA
Michael Seidl, Ph.D., J.D.
Brian Wowk, Ph.D.
President: Max More was re-relected unanimously.
CFO/treasurer: Michael Perry was re-relected unanimously.
Secretary: Michael Perry was re-relected unanimously.
The 2017 Alcor Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday September 16, 2017, starting at 11:30 am (MST) at the Alcor facility (7895 East Acoma Drive in Scottsdale, AZ). The elections of directors and officers will be conducted at this meeting and a wide range of topic will be discussed publicly both before and after a lunch break. Members and the public are encouraged to attend this meeting. The 2017 Strategic Meeting is also scheduled the same weekend, including Friday and Sunday sessions. Some sessions are closed but a summary of the topics discussed at the 2017 Strategic Meeting will be posted to our blog and newsletter.
Please note: The start time of the public meeting may change. It is set to end around 4:00 pm, but again that could change. Please check back here for updates. If you cannot attend in person, you can use our teleconference system to call in using just audio or audio and video. Send a request to