In January we celebrated the cryopreservation of the first person, James Bedford, who remains preserved at Alcor today. Several publications covered the milestone, and of course Alcor has written extensively about Bedford as well. Bedford became an Alcor patient in 1991.
Southern Cryonics is getting ready to break ground on a new cryonics facility in Australia. When completed, it would be the first storage facility not only in Australia, but in the entire southern hemisphere.
Cryonics seldom gets long pieces written about it in major media outlets, but Bloomberg has recently been paying attention. They sent a journalist to Russia to write a very comprehensive piece on KrioRus back in November. That was followed up by a cryonics themed podcast which, despite the negative title, ended up being a very thoughtful, positive discussion about cryonics and transhumanism targeted at folks less familiar with the concepts.
Obviously this blog is focused on Alcor and cryonics, but organ preservation is an important area of research that touches many of the same technologies necessary for human cryopreservation. It’s also an area that the White House has started paying attention to, and now the Pentagon is allocating $160 million to programs aimed at preserving donor organs.
Cryobiologists haven’t historically written a lot of positive pieces about cryonics, but as technology improves, that may change. See this recent piece in Cosmos Magazine. While the contents aren’t likely to be new to an Alcor member, that a lecturer working in cryopreservation at a research institution is saying it is. Those of us who believe the most important thing cryonics advocates can do is shift the Overton window get excited by articles like this.
Research continues into new techniques for preserving and thawing tissues. Recent work at the University of Minnesota suggests that there’s a way to rapidly thaw cryopreserved tissue without damage. The thawing process is considered the most dangerous part of reversible cryopreservation due to ice formation as the tissue warms towards the freezing point. Obviously more work needs to be done before we have something that is practical outside the lab. The full paper can be read here.