Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

Alcor Cryopreserves 80th Patient

Over the weekend, Alcor completed an unusual non-confidential, last-minute case: the cryopreservation of Rose Selkovitch, A-2340. Rose was nearly 102 years old at the time of her cryopreservation.

Because of the last-minute nature of this case, Rose passed away as the standby team was still en route to her Escondido, California location on 29 March 2008. The transport vehicle had been deployed from Arizona with two team members and a member of the southern California team drove down. Due to advance negotiations, a dose of heparin was administered by hospice personnel after her pronouncement at approximately 20:30, chest compressions performed to circulate, and she was packed in ice upon pronouncement of legal death. By the time, the standby team and the funeral director were on-site, the cannulations completed and the washout ready to begin, Rose’s temperature was at 6 degrees C. An equipment problem and concerns about pumping the warmer blood from her chest cavity into her brain (which would warm it up significantly) contributed to a decision to not do a washout in California, but instead begin transport to Arizona for cryoprotection.

Transit paperwork was received in a timely fashion, and the transport concluded without incident. The surgery revealed that Rose had extremely large carotid arteries, and our surgeon suspected there was an aneurysm deeper in the carotid on the right side. Nevertheless, the blood washout went extremely well, resulting in a hematocrit reading that was undetectable. Cryoprotection began at 19:34 on 30 March and concluded at 00:33. Target concentrations of cryoprotectant were achieved in the brain, and first-stage cooling was begun shortly thereafter.

Support from hospice personnel and the local funeral home were instrumental in this case going well. Being just five weeks shy of her 102nd birthday makes Rose the oldest cryopreserved patient at Alcor today. She is our 80th patient.

Update: ABC News & Barbara Walters Special

“Live to be 150 . . . Can You Do It?” will air Tuesday, April 1, at 10:00 p.m. (ET) on ABC.
Don’t miss this Barbara Walters Special Report, which explores the elusive answers to living longer and staying younger. The report will include interviews with Alcor COO Tanya Jones and Alcor member Shannon Vyff who discuss cryopreservation. Dr. Aubrey de Grey also shares his theory for defeating aging and extending the human lifespan.

Other topics of discussion include regenerating body parts using stem cells and cloning; calorie-restrictive diets; a “miracle” pill called Resveratrol; and aging gracefully. The show also brings a group of centenarians together to discuss their remarkable longevity and to clear up misconceptions about living to 100.

The show is featured on the ABC website. We encourage our supporters to educate the public about cryonics by respectfully posting on the website after the show airs.

Post a Comment on the ABC News Website.

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Research and Development

In the last update we reported that Alcor’s Advanced Cryoprotective Perfusion System (ACPS) was awaiting final wiring of the system. The panel containing the refractometers and temperature monitoring systems, as well as other assorted electronics, has now been wired for use. The programmer is currently assembling all of the discrete components of the system into a single batch process for operation.

The patient enclosure, which will be used in conjunction with the ACPS during the cryopreservation process, has also seen modification. One change was to increase the size of the heat exchange area of the OR table where nitrogen will circulate for cooling. This made the enclosure taller, so we are reconsidering the use of a standard-height operating table. Another change was to miniaturize the chiller, which uses liquid nitrogen to cool and precisely control the temperature of the cryoprotectant as it enters the patient. These changes will enable a significant amount of floor space to be recovered (compared to the previous design) and all perfusion components (except the perfusate itself) to fit on the pump base.

Los Angeles Training Session

Regina Pancake, one of Alcor’s staff, traveled to Los Angeles on February 23rd for a small training session with local “first response” team members. She demonstrated Alcor’s newly designed portable ice bath, leading to some useful feedback and resulting in some changes to be implemented with subsequent versions. The Los Angeles team members also indicated that the design was largely intuitive and the assembly was easy.

The timing for this training session and subsequent feedback was good, as Alcor is about to begin replicating 14 ice baths for distribution to regions around the world. The rescue baskets, from which the ice baths are constructed, have arrived at Alcor. Four of them were damaged in shipping and will be replaced. The other ten are ready for assembly.

Florida Standby

Alcor recently performed a 13-day standby for a member in Florida who was hospitalized for medical reasons and an emergency procedure. Alcor was prompted to launch a standby under the Comprehensive Member Standby (CMS) program, an especially good idea because there were medical factors complicating the surgery. First notice of the case arrived late afternoon, and that evening we deployed 3 Alcor personnel (who collectively have dozens of cases experience) by commercial aircraft with a full remote stand-by and stabilization kit.

The kit included a portable ice bath, full medications, mechanical chest compressor for cardiopulmonary support, Air Transportable Perfusion system for remote blood washout, and advanced monitoring equipment. This was the first field test of our new compact kit system, and it appeared to have everything we anticipated needing. Suspended Animation, Inc, helped us by providing coverage during the flight, assistance with coverage during surgery, and by providing a truck and compressed air tanks which relieved us of the need to locally procure those items ourselves.

Fortunately, the member’s condition improved, and transport was not required despite the lengthy standby.

Barbara Walters Special to Air April 1st

Alcor COO Tanya Jones and Alcor member Shannon Vyff were interviewed for a Barbara Walters Special in 2006. The documentary will address ways people around the world are pursuing longevity. Watch for it on ABC on April 1st. Check your local TV listing for program air time.

Conference DVD
The 7th Alcor Conference DVD has been in production for several months. We had hoped to get the conference DVD into replication in February, however some interference was experienced due to various unexpected priorities and delays on the part of the editing firm. The final sound and video edits are expected to be completed in March. Order your copy online NOW!

Alcor Information in French
Those who speak French and are interested in learning more about Alcor’s membership program can now do so more easily by visiting the “In French” section of Alcor’s website.

Membership Growth on the Rise

Several new efforts to increase membership, largely revolving around improving personal contact with prospective applicants and extending them promotional offers, have doubled the typical number of incoming applicants per month. Additionally, 65 applications for membership with Alcor have been submitted since December 2007, surpassing the total number of applications submitted in the first eleven months of 2007 (51).

In February, Alcor received 12 incoming applications and 3 new members were finalized. Thus far in March, 13 applications have been received, suggesting that the growth presently being enjoyed by Alcor is a sustainable trend.

Subscription to Cryonics Magazine, Alcor’s quarterly, four-color magazine, has more than tripled in the last six months. This is largely due to a promotional offer giving away complimentary subscriptions to those interested in learning more about Alcor’s program. In 2008, Alcor plans to increase to 2000 copies of each magazine issue.

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