The end of the year is coming fast, and with it the thought of tax time and another matching grant for Alcor research. Last year, the Bina and Martine Rothblatt Matching Grant was a resounding success, raising $200,000 for research and development related to whole body vitrification. Now we have another opportunity for our supporters to help us in our quest for better cryopreservations. But first, I want to say a little about what was achieved with last year’s grant.
In the past year, we have made steady progress with these projects described in the grant announcement:
* Laboratory Perfusion System: We are almost finished assembling our new lab space and small animal perfusion system, and experiments related to whole body vitrification and cryopreservation will begin shortly.
* Whole Body Cryopreservation System: A new human whole body cryopreservation system is nearing completion, which will significantly improve the quality of cryopreservation and the degree to which whole body patients vitrify.
* Low Temperature Transport: We have begun contract work with a California cryogenic engineer on a low temperature transport container that will allow vitrification and partial vitrification cryopreservation from remote locations, which is of particular interest to our overseas members.
Over half of last year’s grant still remains, to fund experiments and further engineering developments related to its purposes. All the expenditures from the grant were directly project related: not one cent has been used for overhead or regular employee salaries.
This year, a member who prefers to remain anonymous has put up $25,000 for another matching grant, this one focused on his own personal interest: fracture free storage. When a patient is cooled below the glass transition temperature (about -120°C), mechanical stresses form that can lead to fracturing of tissue, significantly increasing the level of technology needed for revival. Contrary to previous belief, we have found that simply maintaining a patient at higher temperatures may not be enough to prevent this damaging fracturing, since we have indications that fractures occur at temperatures too warm to be safe in the long-term.
To understand and seek ways to prevent these damaging fractures in our patients, Alcor has an ongoing project to analyze the biophysics of fracturing using newly developed technologies and methods. Your donation to this matching grant will support progress already underway, including ongoing testing and development of intermediate temperature storage and transportation systems. This research is separate from the whole body vitrification research, which is continuing into 2007.
From now until February 28, 2007, contributions up to a total of $25,000 will be matched by our anonymous donor. As usual, donations are fully tax deductible. This is your opportunity to further Alcor’s goals, double your contribution, and enjoy a tax deduction. Simply print and fill out the enclosed PDF form, or phone Alcor at 1-877-462-5267 ext. 101 with your credit card. We will do the rest.
Finally, I want to thank all our members for their continued encouragement and support over the last year. I think 2007 will be even better.
Stephen Van Sickle