Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

Unprecedented $5 Million Contribution to Cryonics Research!

I am delighted to announce that Alcor has received a stunning $5,000,000 contribution to fund cryonics research. Alcor member Brad Armstrong (A-3000), came to visit Alcor in November 2016. After a tour and long and fascinating chat, before he left I suggested that he finally sit down and sign the membership paperwork. We would provide the witnesses and the Notary Public. 90 minutes later, Brad was done and handed us a check, making him a member. (See? It’s not as difficult as you think.)

Fast forward to April 2018. Brad’s assistant called to say that Brad wanted to make a major contribution to Alcor for the purposes of cryonics research. When I called Brad, I was immediately reminded that he is a down-to-earth, easygoing fellow who wants cryonics to work and is eager to fund what he knows matters.

Brad is an enthusiast of cryptocurrencies and an admirer of Hal Finney – the first recipient and early developer of Bitcoin – and an Alcor member cryopreserved in August 2014. The $5 million research contribution is being held in the name of the “Hal Finney Cryonics Research Fund”.

Brad’s cryptocurrency contribution was made by transferring it to an intermediary organization. Formally, we must therefore note that the funds were received from “Against Aging Fund at East Texas Communities Foundation”. But make no mistake. This funding came from Brad.

Brad has done well financially from his inventions and his cryptocurrency investments. Even so, we know that there are Alcor members of considerably greater means. Some of these are well into their later years. I imagine myself in the position of having a net worth of a billion dollars or more and being in my 60s, 70s, or 80s. Certainly, I would be funding life extension research. But I am certain that I would also be putting serious money into cryonics, not only for research to build up Alcor’s technical capabilities and strength.

On behalf of Alcor and the cryonics effort in general, I want to say thank you. But how can I possibly express those thanks adequately?

With a gift of this magnitude comes the responsibility of managing and spending it wisely for maximum impact. Until the Alcor board and Research Group determine how best to hold and use this funding, I have moved it from Alcor’s bank account into a money market fund earning 1.5%. As puny as that percentage sounds historically, it means a yield of $6,000 per month (after keeping $200,000 to shore up the Research Fund). Stay tuned as we determine how to use this remarkable influx of funding to boost Alcor’s cryonics research.

–Max More

Alcor creates a new trust for Patient Care funds

When Alcor created the Alcor Patient Care Trust (“PCT”) in 1997, our purpose was to create a safe place to grow and protect the funds reserved for care of Alcor’s cryopreserved patients. The number one purpose of Alcor is and has to be to maintain the already cryopreserved patients. Who would trust a cryonics organization which couldn’t do that?

The Patient Care Fund (before it was a separate Trust) was originally part of Alcor’s regular internal fund accounting system. By late 1991, this fund approached one million dollars and was by far the largest segment of Alcor’s assets. The Alcor Board realized that a better way was needed to protect this money. For one thing, it was a possible “deep pocket” in any potential lawsuit against any part of Alcor’s operation. For another thing, there was the potential temptation to use the fund for other purposes during tight financial times. So the idea was born to create a legally separate Trust to shield the fund from either of these possibilities.

We were advised to create the PCT under Alcor’s corporate tax ID number to take advantage of Alcor’s tax-exempt non-profit status. Over the years as the Trust funds grew ever larger, Alcor’s leaders began to look for a way to separate the PCT further from its Alcor corporate existence and to provide the Trust with its own tax ID. Unfortunately the two attorneys we asked about this advised us that it was extremely unlikely that the IRS would approve that kind of separation without a lengthy and expensive court proceeding. They also felt like the Patient Care Trust, being part of Alcor, was not as secure from outside lawsuits as it could be. However, they did have experience with the IRS approving a Trust which took the form of a Type 2 Supporting Organization, which could have its own separate existence, tax ID number, and 501(c)(3) tax status.

https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/supporting-organizations-requirements-and-types

Fortunately we had set up the PCT to include the ability “to form any other separate legal entities to hold title to the assets of the Trust in order to carry out the substantive provisions of this Agreement.” And of course, Alcor always has the right to set up other entities.

While a Type 2 Supporting Organization did seem like a useful organization to create, it had one provision that we struggled with: The majority of the Directors (or in this case, Trustees) of a Type 2 Supporting Organization had to be Directors of the Supported Organization – in this case, that means Alcor Directors. While the new Trust would be much safer from outside “attack,” we worried that we might create something that was more vulnerable to inside manipulation from future Alcor Boards of Directors. We think we have solved that problem, however, by keeping the PCT Trustees directly involved in the distribution of funds and payment of expenses, as described below.

The Alcor Care Trust Supporting Organization (“ACT”) was created on June 6, 2016 and approved by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization on June 20, 2017. Since then the Alcor Board of Directors, the Trustees of the PCT, and the Trustees of the ACT have worked carefully to put together an ACT Operating Agreement that details the relationship between the three entities. Funds were transferred from the PCT to the ACT on March 21, 2018. As they have been for many years, the funds are in the custody of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, but are now managed by the ACT Trustees.

The purpose of the new ACT is primarily to hold the Patient Care investment funds and to invest them in such a way as to allow them to grow at the fastest rate that is consistent with a low level of risk. The strategy being used is the same as that which was pursued by the PCT Trustees.

The PCT continues in existence with the primary purposes of initially receiving the Patient Care funds from Alcor after each cryopreservation and paying the quarterly bills for Patient Care Expenses. At the end of each year (or more often, if warranted), the PCT will pass along excess funds to the ACT for investment. If expenses exceed what the PCT has on hand, the ACT is specifically authorized by the ACT Operating Agreement to return funds to the PCT sufficient for the payment of Patient Care expenses. This arrangement also allows the two Trust Boards to be a potential check on each other and on the Alcor Board of Directors.

At some point in the future, we also anticipate that the ACT will provide funding for research into the technologies necessary to resuscitate our Patients.

The ideal arrangement would be that each Trustee Board include three members who have a relative or significant other in cryopreservation at Alcor. This is sometimes difficult to accomplish; but we are actively looking to increase our pool of qualified future Trustees. For now, we allow no more than two Trustees to be on both Trustee Boards. As we increase our pool of potential Trustees, we anticipate less duplication. The Patient Care Trustees are elected on staggered terms (1 Trustee comes up for election each year) by the Alcor Board of Directors. The Alcor Care Trustees are self electing (by law), also on staggered terms.

The current members of the PCT and ACT Trust Boards are:

Patient Care Trust:
Michael Riskin (Alcor Director)
Robert Schwarz
Michael Korns
David Brandt-Erichsen
[One currently open seat]

Alcor Care Trust Supporting Organization:
Michael Riskin (Alcor Director)
Brian Wowk (Alcor Director)
Andy Aymeloglu (Alcor Director)
Stephen Bridge
Michael Korns

On March 21, 2018, the Patient Care Trust assigned $12,707,650.65 in investments and cash to the Alcor Care Trust Supporting Organization. The Patient Care Trust retained $700,000 in cash as a cushion for Patient Care expenses in 2018, as well as its ownership position in Cryonics Property, LLC (the company that owns the building that Alcor occupies), and its ownership of Patient dewars and related equipment.

The full text of the ACT’s Articles of Organization, Operating Agreement (the equivalent of Bylaws), and other documents can be found on the Alcor website here:

http://www.alcor.org/AboutAlcor/patientcaretrustfund.html

Northern California Alcor 2018 April meeting

HOSTED BY: Zeng and Tim graciously agreed to host the Northern California Alcor April meeting at their home.

WHEN: April 15th, 3:00 – 6:00 PM

WHERE: 381 N Fernwood Circle, Sunnyvale, CA 94085

RSVP: 408-329-0394

Please bring some food to share

Careful with the address: There is 381 S Fernwood Circle nearby. That house has a beautiful front garden while ours has unhealthy bushes.

Norma D. Peterson, A-1547, becomes Alcor’s 156th Patient on February 22, 2018

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 Tuesday, 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.

Alcor Position Statement on Brain Preservation Foundation Prize

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:
http://www.evidencebasedcryonics.org/2018/03/13/aldehyde-stabilized-large-brain-cryopreservation/
http://www.evidencebasedcryonics.org/media/LBASC.pdf

A-1988 Becomes Alcor’s 155th Patient on January 22, 2018

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 (MST) stating that the patient had died. The hospital found the patient without vital signs and doctors declared her deceased at 08:30. 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. 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. A CT scan was performed with the patient in liquid nitrogen. The scan showed some shrinkage and uniform perfusion with no sign of ice formation.
IMG_20180121_124045_SM

Fortunately, the family was able to afford a charter flight — shown in these photos — thereby greatly reducing travel time and making field cryoprotection possible.

IMG_20180121_124132_SM

A-3079, becomes Alcor’s 154th Patient on November 16, 2017

A-3079, a confidential Whole Body member, was pronounced on November 12, 2017 in Nice, France. A-3079 became a patient of Alcor on November 16th, 2017 when a family member signed her third-party paperwork. The patient arrived in Phoenix, AZ on Tuesday the 28th on dry ice and was transported to Alcor. Once at Alcor, the patient was immediately prepped for cool down with liquid nitrogen. Cool down was completed on December 3rd.

Alex Arevalo, A-1879, becomes Alcor’s 153rd Patient on October 20, 2017

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.

Southern California CryoFeast

You’re invited to the Southern California CryoFeast and networking event!

Date: Saturday December 2nd. Time: 3:00-9:00 PM

This event is open to all Cryonicists, futurists, life extensionists, and health
and longevity enthusiasts.

It will be our regular holiday party but this year we are starting it a few hours
early so that we can have a mini-seminar with speakers and a networking
event before the party.

There will be a fabulous holiday buffet, open bar and live entertainment including a fantastic longevity themed performance you’re going to love!

Check out the link below to view the invitation and get all the info. And
note that seats are limited so get your tickets now if you plan to attend!

CryoFeast Information