I wanted to share what Paul Wakfer wrote in responding to me on the Cryonet list. He explains in great detail about the nature of the actual advances and what still needs to be done. Paul also explains about where the funding came from.
Message #14065Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 11:11:01 -0400
From: Paul Wakfer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #14056 Hippocampal Slice Cryopreservation Project
References: <200007100900.FAA19879@rho.pair.com>> Message #14056
Date: Sun, 09 Jul 2000 13:34:23 -0900
From: "John M Grigg" <email@example.com>
Subject: We're on a roll here!!!
Paul Wakfer wrote:
Work is about to begin with a new VS which has allowed 21st Century Medicine researchers to achieve 95% cellular viability after testing the VS on rabbit kidney slices.
For clarity, it should be pointed out that this (95% cellular viability relative to untouched controls) was for slices which were merely loaded and unloaded with VS. No cooling was done.
BTW, these particular sentences are a modification by Greg Fahy of my first draft In addition, work is continuing on methods of adding & removing VS that may be less damaging. Finally, it is possible that longer recovery times may further improve the ultimate viability of the slices. All in all, prospects for further improvement appear excellent.(end)
Wow!!! This is fantastic news!! I always thought it would be at least another decade or two till we got to this point considering the very limited funding for research. And this breakthrough could be completed before the end of the year? I am quite amazed!
While this work is very encouraging, its results are not in any manner a "breakthrough" and it is little different from what I and a few others was very sure was possible at the time that I began the Prometheus Project. This success is the result of the concerted application of focused research efforts directed to the problem of cryopreservation of multicellular tissues by several people, even with severely limited resources. What has happened differently in the last few years is that the resources of manpower and money available research on brain cryopreservation has increased from virtually none to small.
So this project (built of course on the foundation
of previous research) has cost $100,000?
Actually, about $110,000 to date. INC has provided about $60,000 (of which $16,000 has come from Ben Best), and the other $50,000 was provided by the lab at the "research institution associated with a major
Southern California university". The person in-charge of this lab (who is also co-principal investigator for the HSCP) has thus applied 50% of his Prometheus Project pledge to this project which came out of it.
However, there have been several other people who have been especially farsighted in monetarily supporting this project. Ben Best, Edgar Swank, Tim Freeman and Roy Yowell all donated $5,000 or more to the project.
In naming those four, however, I do not mean to disparage the help of any of the 30 others who donated smaller amounts.
I remember how it was thought a budget in the tens
of millions would be needed for such advances and
would take at least a decade of work.
You are confusing the completed work of demonstrated perfected whole brain cryopreservation (and eventually perfected whole body suspended animation) with the initial step of cellular viability of brain slices
for only one area of the brain, the hippocampus. There is a large and important distinction between cellular viability and intercellular or global viability, especially for the brain.
There is an even larger distinction between methods which apply to brain slices and those which can be applied to whole brains. Finally, there may be even a larger distinction between what will work for whole brains and what will work for whole bodies. The achievement of those projects are still likely to to require a decade and tens of millions of dollars.
Don't forget that the current results have their basis in the resources of people and dollars (well over a million) that have established and maintained the work of 21CM.
What we expect to be able to demonstrate before the end of 2000 is a high percentage of cellular viability for cryopreserved (via vitrification) rat hippocampal slices relative to controls.
The methods to demonstrate viability of interconnections of neurons (global viability) which was the primary goal of the HSCP has not yet begun, although sufficient additional investigation has been done to suggest that the original method proposed (high speed videomicrography of action potential propagation across the hippocampal slice surface) is still fully feasible.
Is this project at least in part being funded
by Saul Kent and Will Faloon?
Neither Saul Kent nor Bill Faloon have donated any money to the HSCP. All of Greg's time since the initial proposal write up (for which INC paid directly) has been supplied by 21CM and Greg himself. In addition, there was considerable cooperation from 21CM in furnishing cryoprotectant formulations and in helping perfect the cellular viability methods.
I wonder how much of the funding came from private donations?
I am not sure that I understand your meaning of "private" donations. None of the INC funding came from government or institutional donations, if that is what you mean. Specifially, no cryonics organization has yet donated anything to the Hippocampal Slice Cryopreservation Project.
I was very pleased to read Fred Chamberlain's post stating how Alcor is in the midst of preparing to implement 21st Century Medicine advances. Yep, "make mine vitrified!"
I cannot emphasize too much the vast difference between vitrified brains and perfected long-term whole body suspended animation. The differences
are not only vast in recovery potential, but even more so with regard to the scientific and public image of human cryopreservation.
Needless to say, this is a very exciting time for us.
Cryonics within just a few years may be in a more
powerful position than ever before. :)
It is always good to be optimistic, but the time for complacency is still far in the future. There is still an enormous amount of research to be done and all immortalists need to support this work as never before to ensure that it
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