Cryoprotectants anyone?

Twink (
Sat, 13 Dec 1997 11:58:49 -0500 (EST)

Having an interest in living a long, long time, and not being sure I can make it
from here to when the fountain of youth is invented and marketed, I have an
interest in cryonics. I've only read a little bit up on it, so I'm no
expert, but with
that preface, it seems the main technological problem which we might tackle
is that of finding a superb cryoprotectant.

To this end, I typed in the following schema, in hopes that someone will
either tell me:

a) it's already being done,
b) it won't work, or
c) it's a brilliant idea and let's get started.

Here is the schema:

Engineering cryoprotectants:
The basic idea is to come up with specificaions for the ideal cryoprotectant
in detail. And I mean, ultimately, in technical detail. This will probably
finding some rigorous tests, such as how well it allows cells to not suffer
damage, though I would advise other tests as well. Perhaps some sort of
microstructure could be used as a test bed.

Next, find existing chemicals that meet one or more of the specs. There are
already a few good cryoprotectants in use, but I mean any chemical
whatsoever. This is almost a form of brainstorming. The idea is to widen
the scope of the search in hopes of a serendipitous solution.

We can also use genetic algorithmns and the like to come up with a
molecular design and try to create a compound or set of compounds
from the results. This is sort of like crossing a butterfly with a bee to
come up with a graceful stinging bug. Many of the crossbreeds will
be unviable monsters, but one might work.

After this, the cryoprotectant can be tested on nerve cells and perhaps
networks of nerves. (Has such already been done? I am talking about
examining the connections between cells -- which most assume are
responsible for how the brain behaves, including the mind -- for
damage.) Finally, the cryoprotectant will be tested on whole systems,
such as a whole mouse that is alive.

Can anyone enlighten me here?

Daniel Ust