Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

Du Hong, A-2833, becomes Alcor’s 138th patient on May 30, 2015

Du Hong, Alcor member A-2833, was pronounced clinically dead on May 30, 2015 at the age of 61. Du Hong, a neurocryopreservation member, was Alcor’s first patient from China, and 138th patient overall.

Du Hong was born in Chongqing, China and became well-known as a writer of books for children and as an editor of science fiction. One of the books she edited was a science fiction trilogy, The Three-Body Problem, which was themed around cryonics. While undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer she discovered cryonics and realized that it was a real-world option. Her family contacted Alcor from Beijing, where she was located, and helped her to investigate the possibility of cryopreserving her brain. Initial contact was much later than Alcor prefers, but there was sufficient time for all contractual and financial arrangements to be put in place.

On the evening of May 19, Aaron Drake, Alcor’s Medical Response Director, and surgeon Dr. Jose Kanshepolsky flew to San Francisco to apply for emergency medical visas to travel to China. They stayed at a hotel half a mile from the Chinese consulate so as to be first in line the next morning. After approval in less than 24 hours, they traveled straight from San Francisco to Beijing with a kit that would enable them to medicate and cryoprotect the patient. A fair amount of time was spent discussing the contents of the surgical/perfusion kit with Chinese Customs officials, but eventually they were allowed through with all of our supplies and perfusate.

The standby lasted nine days. Although longer than anticipated based on available medical information, it was fortunate in that it gave them time to negotiate with the Chinese government to gain permission to obtain immediate pronouncement of the patient, the ability to administer medications bedside, immediate hospital release to a paid transport team that was on standby, the ability to use the government mortuary’s prep room to perform the surgery and perfusion while two government officials observed the entire procedure, and then immediate cooldown with dry ice. Considerable help was provided by several individuals who had expressed interested in advancing cryonics in China.

On Saturday May 30th, 2015 at 5:50 PM (2:50 AM in Arizona), the patient was pronounced with Jose and Aaron at the hospital bedside. All of the plans fell into place and a field-neuro cryoprotection commenced shortly thereafter. Medications were administered and circulated, and the perfusion system worked well, priming quickly and holding pressure at 90-100 mmHg without adjustment over the course of the perfusion. Target concentration of cryoprotectant was achieved after close to three hours of perfusion and maintained for another 30 minutes before the procedure was completed. The international mortuary shipping consultant that we used anticipated no delays in getting the patient shipped to the US. However, there were delays in the approval process. Dry ice was added every two days while the paperwork was sorted out.

It had been decided that transport out of the country would be most likely accepted by the authorities with the patient as a whole body. Once approval was finally granted, Du Hong’s shipper was loaded with 200 kg of dry ice and flown to Los Angeles. At a nearby mortuary in the area with whom Alcor has worked many times before, the neuroseparation was carried out. Our patient arrived at Alcor on June 25 and cool down to liquid nitrogen temperature commenced immediately.

A-2813 becomes Alcor’s 137th patient on May 25, 2015

Private member A-2813 was pronounced clinically dead on May 25, 2015 in Florida. A-2813, a whole body member, arrived at Alcor at 12:37am on May 26, becoming Alcor’s 137th patient.

This individual was in the ICU of a Florida hospital with acute respiratory problems that persisted for an extended period of time. His daughter initiated the process to have her father cryopreserved and completed the paperwork and provided funding to Alcor. Suspended Animation (SA) was put on alert early on when local physicians were concerned that the patient may not survive. His health improved for a while and then progressively became worse again. Suspended Animation was deployed for three days when the patient met our critical criteria but eventually the standby was discontinued following another rebound in health, but the patient’s status was monitored and reports send twice daily. Eight days later, on May 24, the patient’s health deteriorated suddenly and SA deployed again. At 6:47am EST on May 25, the SA team leader received a call from hospital staff that the patient had arrested and Code Blue resuscitation efforts had begun. SA Team members waiting outside the hospital gathered medications and equipment from the vehicle and moved to the CCU floor. After two full Code Blue protocols, patient was pronounced at 7:32 am EST and stabilization procedures began.

Following a washout at a local mortuary, the patient was flown to Phoenix, arriving at Alcor a little over 20 hours after pronouncement. Several complication arose during this case and will be discussed in the full case report (which is currently undergoing review). According to the patient’s daughter, “He was a highly decorated B-24 pilot in World War II and Korean War veteran so it was fitting that he should pass on Memorial day.”

Maricopa County discount on CMS

Maricopa county, Arizona permanent residents will receive $60 off their CMS fees per year starting in October 1, 2015.

Comment: Alcor offers terminal members who relocate to Scottsdale up to $10,000 in assistance. Being located near Alcor when cryopreservation is needed not only improves response time but also reduces costs. It seemed to some a little unfair that members already living near Alcor could not benefit from this policy. We are recognizing this by reducing CMS (Comprehensive Member Standby) fees.

Members Dues Reduction

For the third consecutive year, Alcor is reducing membership dues. Starting October 1, 2015:

There will be a reduction in dues by approximately 1% (the exact amount in dollars to be determined) for all except family members and minor children. Minor children will receive approximately a 50% cut in dues, and dues will be charged for a maximum of two minor children in a family.

Comment: This is a smaller reduction than in 2014 and 2013 but reinforces the trend of declining membership dues. We hope to continue this trend so long as membership growth continues. The 50% cut for minor children should provide substantial relief for members who sign up multiple family members.

2015 Annual Meeting Elections

President: Max More was re-relected unanimously.
CFO/treasurer: Michael Perry was re-relected unanimously.
Secretary: Michael Perry was re-relected unanimously.

Each director on the existing Board of Directors was relected unanimously:
Catherine Baldwin
James Clement
Ravin Jain
Saul Kent
Ralph Merkle
Michael Riskin
Brian Wowk

A-2019 becomes Alcor’s 139th patient on June 28, 2015

Private Alcor member A-2019 was pronounced clinically dead on June 28, 2015 in St. Louis, MO. A-2019, a neurocryopreservation member, was Alcor’s 139th patient and arrived at Alcor on July 2, where cool down from dry ice temperature to liquid nitrogen temperature commenced.

In mid-May, Alcor received a call from one of our members in the St Louis, MO area. He informed us that he had previously been diagnosed with lung cancer but had decided to forgo conventional treatments for more natural-based therapies that he self-prescribed. He had also chosen against diagnostic imaging to monitor his progress so he was unable to obtain any feedback on the progression of his disease.

His phone call was prompted by a concern over the possible spread of his disease. He recently coughed up blood and his limbs and joints were becoming increasingly painful.

We urged him to seek immediate medical attention as these were signs that could be quite serious, especially if related to his cancer. He sounded quite reluctant to go to a hospital or emergency facility out of fear they would attempt to treat his cancer. We explained that a diagnosis and prognosis of his current condition would help Alcor determine the extent of his illness and provide valuable information in the event a standby was warranted. He could always decline any cancer related treatment they offered but awareness of the medical problem was important. The member stated he would take our suggestions under advisement and keep us posted (we later learned he had decided not to be evaluated).

Less than two weeks later, we received a call very early in the morning, from the member’s best friend, telling us that our member was being taken to the hospital by ambulance due to severe difficulty breathing. Within the hour, the friend called back to say that our member had arrested in the emergency department and was pronounced after 40 minutes of unsuccessful resuscitation efforts.

We were successful in convincing the hospital to administer Heparin, in accordance with the patient’s medical alert tag and flushing with 500ml of sodium chloride, in lieu of chest compressions which they refused to perform post-pronouncement. Ice packs were also placed around the patient and he was transferred to the hospital’s morgue coolers. A local mortuary was found who agreed to assist with transport and the use of their prep room.

Due to the late notice and limited time available to acquire the paperwork needed for transport, Alcor president Max More decided to authorize the use of our Field-Neuro perfusion procedure rather than settling for a straight-freeze. Steve Graber and Aaron Drake flew to St. Louis, arriving the same evening, and drove to the mortuary where the patient was stored in their cooler, covered with ice bags.

Working through the night, the Field Neuro perfusion system was setup, surgical access was obtained and a washout/perfusion was performed using a smoothed step-ramp approach. A concentration of 50.1 Brix was achieved and maintained for an additional 30 minutes before termination, which concluded around 7:00 am in the morning. Dry ice was acquired through a tissue bank facility that was open all night and was used immediately to cool the body. After a brief rest, Aaron and Steve returned to the mortuary to construct a dry-ice shipping container and reapply additional dry ice to replenish that which had evaporated.

A commercial flight was scheduled for later in the week, after they were certain the patient was down to dry ice temperature. Our local mortuary retrieved the shipment from airline cargo and delivered to Alcor, following the direct flight to Phoenix. The dry ice shipper had plenty of dry ice remaining and our temperature monitor indicated that the patient was still sufficiently cold. His body is now in queue for further cooling measures.

On June 28th, 2015, A-2019 became Alcor’s 139th patient. He is also our 6th patient of the calendar year, and 15th patient for the last 12 months.