Tanya Jones is the COO of Alcor. She has also participated in over half of the members’ cryopreservations. She talked about “Improving Cryopreservation Technology at Alcor.”
The moment the heart stops and legal death begins, Alcor must act quickly to stabilize the brain and body. This is most effective when they are on standby and near the patient. The logistics for transferring human remains to Arizona are extensive, and so Alcor must pay close attention to every detail.
Research will help improve the cryonics process, at every level from standby to stasis. New automation technology called the Whole-body Perfusion System will speed up the process which has until now been mostly manual, while allowing the gathering of new data, automated reports, and improved knowledge. For example, cryopreservation levels were previously eyeballed by one of the technicians. The Whole-body Perfusion System will now monitor these levels, temperatures, pressure, flow, and cryoprotectant uptake and flag alarms.
Other alarm conditions, like bubbles during cryopreservation, that arise will be flagged by the new system, and reports will be generated to document to process.
Another technology being developed is called “Deep Cooling”, a way to cool the patient down to -100 degrees Celsius.
Besides equipment and tool improvements, procedures for training are also being revisited. Worldwide Alcor membership is currently around 800 people, so new technician regions are being setup to get them to the bedside of patients more quickly and efficiently. Training will be improved by bringing people to Alcor for hands-on experience with cadavers or large animal remains.
It is always great to hear about new technologies being tested or implemented that will improve efficiency, data gathering and report generation. Even the tables and pods have been improved, including fans, ways of making sure the person will fit, and other additions and changes. Other improvements will include better ice baths with improved insulation, potentially keeping a person at 0 degrees for up to five days; tools for drawing out the blood; cooling via the lungs, smaller and more portable perfusion equipment, and new safety features on tools. The stabilization kits used in the field are being revisited and reduced in size so technicians can get to the patients bedside more easily.