Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

Benford back with new edition of Chiller

Gregory Benford: “In the early 1990s it seemed time for a novel that looked at cryonics with a view of how it might play out in our time.

I think it’s still time to reconsider the fundamental issues of cryonics, and indeed, of any attempt to live far into the long future before us. In a time of strange religious passions and ideas, we need to realize what the future might hold, and so how high the stakes are.

So I somewhat rewrote and now reissue it here.”


Alcor’s 107th patient

Alcor member A-2091 was pronounced on August 18, 2011. A whole body cryopreservation, A-2091 became Alcor’s 107th patient.

A-2091, a member living in Southern California, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2010. Alcor went on high alert in June of this year, and the member received 24 hour care at her home. Chemotherapy and medication administration was discontinued in June. In mid-June, Alcor prepared and shipped a mini-med kit to her home. In late June, a PICC line was established to permit easier administration of transport medications. Around the same time, the prior “full code” status was removed.

Arrangements were made with Suspended Animation to provide standby when required. Aaron Drake arranged a charter flight and made a special arrangement with the Health Department so that we could call after hours to secure a transit permit (this turned out to be very useful). He visited the home in later July, met with a nearby mortuary, and worked out logistic details.

Suspended Animation initiated a standby on August 9; at least two team members on site at all times. After about a week of standby, SA’s veterinary surgeon was replaced by a cardiothoracic surgeon who, by all accounts, performed superbly. Shortly before noon on August 18, it was clear that clinical death was imminent. The charter flight was set in motion, but a dust storm in Scottsdale/Phoenix delayed its departure—fortunately only briefly.

The patient was pronounced at 4:12pm. Reportedly, the patient was cooled remarkably quickly over the first hour after cardiac arrest. No one was answering the phone at the Health Department, but the private, after-hours number got a quick response. She was loaded on the plane at 8:57pm, and reached Alcor at 10:22pm. The surgery was challenging due to extensive medical issues, but target cryoprotectant concentration was reached in the brain.

Our best wishes to A-2091 and her family. We will do our utmost to keep you secure, providing a chance for a future return to life.

Cryonics magazine 3rd Quarter Issue Out Now

Alcor is pleased to announce that the 3rd Quarter 2011 Cryonics Magazine is now available for viewing, purchasing and downloading.

Just because we no longer mail out physical copies of Cryonics magazine (except by special arrangement), you shouldn’t miss on what’s going on at Alcor and in cryonics. In the 3rd Quarter 2011 issue, the CEO Update reminds us of the value of air bags, seatbelts, wearing your Alcor bracelet, and ensuring your paperwork is current. The Update also notes a close call that might have meant three cryopreservations in the same week; informs us of improvements to the building, security, and energy efficiency; has information on recent and upcoming talks and conferences; and concludes with a teaser about a planned 2012 Alcor 40th Anniversary Conference.

Also in the 3rd quarter issue of Cryonics magazine is a richly illustrated review and update of Intermediate Temperature Storage (ITS). ITS technologies will allow for long term care of cryonics patients at low subzero temperatures with reduced or no fracturing events. This issue also includes a timeline that tracks the history of ITS. Please also visit Alcor’s Facebook page, and vote in the poll about ITS.

Biologist Michael Rose, Ph.D., outlines his unorthodox view of the aging process and discusses strategies to halt the aging process. He acknowledges the value of cryopreservation as a back-up plan, but also offers “an informal introduction to a third possibility. This possibility is one in which aging is stopped, and then repair and refurbishment are used to achieve immortality by the simple expedient of not dying in the first place.” Rose says he is breaking with a long Western academic tradition of aging theory as a cumulative physiological process. His practical proposal—reflecting Max More’s recent article “The Cryo-Paleo Solution”—advocates “shifting back to lifestyles that are physiologically comparable to those of hunter-gatherers” to provide “a possibility of stopping aging at earlier ages, and in better shape”.

Given Aschwin de Wolf’s consistent and excellent role as Cryonics editor, and researcher, it’s about time that he receives his own member profile (written by Alcor member Cairn Idun).

Cryonics magazine is also available as a paper magazine. Individual issues cost $9.95 plus shipping.  They can be ordered at MagCloud.  A subscription to the paper edition of Cryonics magazine is also available. If you live in the United States, a subscription for one year costs $39, two years $69, three years $99 (including shipping). If you live in another country, a subscription for one year costs $99, two years $179, three years $239 (including shipping). Start your subscriptions to the paper edition TODAY!

2011 Alcor Annual Board Meeting and Strategic Meeting

The 2011 Alcor Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, September 10th at 11:00 AM (PDT) at the Alcor facility (7895 East Acoma Drive in Scottsdale, AZ). The elections of directors and officers will be conducted at this meeting.  Members and the public are encouraged to attend this meeting.

The 2011 Strategic Meeting is also scheduled the same weekend. This is a closed meeting but a summary of the topics discussed at the 2011 Strategic Meeting will be posted to our blog and newsletter.

Readiness and Transport

Dewar Boiloff Report
After concluding the initial boiloff test on Dewar #14 we transferred much of the LN2 over to Dewar #15 using an LN2 pump designed by Hugh. We completed the fill from the bulk tank to begin boiloff testing on the second of the three new dewars. Dewar #15 has now been quietly boiling off over the past 17 days while Mike Perry has been monitoring the boiloff rate.

Airline Transportable Ice Bath (ATIB)
The research and development team has been working on constructing a new ‘Alcor Team Only’ ATIB which was designed by Steve Graber several months ago. The main reasons for building a new ice bath were to reduce both the size and weight to make it more suitable for airline transportation. We will continue to use the current portable ice bath (PIB) for all of our response teams. Our internal team travels frequently with only a moment’s notice.  The standard ice bath is simply too bulky and too heavy to be transported efficiently through the airport system. We experienced delays and extremely high baggage fees due to the oversize and overweight of the PIB during check‐in. The new ice bath is now only 1/2 the weight and about 1/8th the size of the previous ice bath when it is folded down for transport.

TSA Known Shipper Certification
On Aug. 3, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007 (9/11 Act) P.L. 110-53 (2007), legislation requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a system to enable industry to screen 100 percent of cargo transported on passenger aircraft at a level of security commensurate with the level of security of passenger checked baggage, within three years. The impact of the 100 percent screening requirement is that all cargo must be screened at the piece level by TSA approved methods prior to being loaded onto a passenger aircraft.

The Known Shipper data Management System provides a systematic approach to assessing risk and determining the legitimacy of shippers by allowing TSA to identify and approve the Known Shipper status for qualified shippers located in the U.S.

Alcor has completed the process to obtain “Known Shipper” status with the Transportation Security Administration.  While we will still use a mortuary with similar status to arrange for the shipping of our patients, we now have the ability to ship/return our response kits through the airline’s cargo division to save on costs and hassles.

Watch List
There were a number of acutely ill members on Alcor’s watch list. Most of them have experienced significant health improvements from their medical treatments. Only one member is being closely monitored.

The Financial Times, based out of the U.K., ran a story in their ongoing series titled “The Job” where they focus on interesting and unique jobs around the globe. The journalist, Rhymer Rigby, takes readers through a variety of jobs in world industry to show some of the people behind the headlines. This month the article focused on the role of Alcor’s Medical Response Director, Aaron Drake.

Administrative Report (July 2011)

Membership Statistics
Alcor had 955 members on its Emergency Responsibility List.  Ten memberships were approved, no memberships were reinstated, three memberships were cancelled and no members were cryopreserved.  Overall, there was a net gain of seven members in July.

Applicant Statistics
Alcor had 43 applicants for membership.  Ten new applicants were added, ten applicants were converted to members and one applicant was cancelled resulting in net a loss of one applicant in July.

Information Packet Statistics
Alcor received 75 info pack requests in July. Eleven were handed out during facility tours or from special request.  The average total of 114 info packs sent per month in 2011 compares to 199 in 2010. The full Information Packet is now available online.