Suspended Animation  
   
         
   

Number 9
January 8, 2007


Employment Opportunity in Cryonics

We have placed half-page ads in Long Life magazine (formerly The Immortalist) and in Cryonics magazine, as follows:

Suspended Animation is seeking a new employee who is highly motivated to improve and deliver cryonics standby, stabilization, transport, and vitrification procedures. Our ideal candidate will have serious prior interest in cryonics and some knowledge of emergency medicine (or a serious willingness to become knowledgeable). Our candidate should have managerial potential. Ideally, she or he should have worked in a small business, preferably with supervisory responsibilities.

The individual will be expected to perform the following duties:

  • Participation in emergency procedures.
  • Collaboration to develop in-house vitrification.
  • Development of new procedures & equipment.
  • Outreach to potential clients; public speaking.
  • Study of prior art and relevant medical research.
  • Documentation of existing protocol.
  • Liaison with affiliated labs and cryonics groups.
  • Long-range planning and strategies.

    This is a singular opportunity for anyone who wants to play a key role in the enhancement of cryonics capabilities in the twenty-first century.

    We offer a health plan, dental plan, 401(k), and relocation expenses. Our facility is located in Boynton Beach, Florida, approximately 40 miles north of Fort Lauderdale and one mile inland from the Atlantic coast.

    Please send a resume to cryopreservation@gmail.com with a cover letter explaining your special interest in cryonics in general and this position in particular. You may also call us at 1-561-296-4251.

We will be advertising also in Craig's List for the West Palm Beach area. Our goal is to find someone who can acquire managerial responsibilities in the future.

We welcome resumes and detailed letters, which should be sent to cryopreservation@gmail.com. Please do not use that address for any purpose other than a job application.


Upcoming Conference

In November we did a mass-mailing of brochures to promote our conference, “Advances in Human Cryopreservation,” which will be held in Fort Lauderdale from May 18th through May 20th of this year. The brochure is reproduced on our web site at:

http://www.suspendedinc.com/conference/SA_conference.pdf

This event will provide topical information on some very significant developments in cryonics and related research, and will also give attendees an opportunity to inspect our facility in some detail.

The conference fee, which includes meals and a banquet, is only $95 for those who register before February 1st. You can call us at 1-561-296-4254 to register.

The emphasis of this conference will be on developments that can enhance human cryopreservation now or in the near future. We believe this should be of special interest to anyone who is concerned about the quality of care in cryonics.


New Staff Members

Melody Maxim, Piotr Ruc, and Ken Schroeder are now working with us as fulltime employees at Suspended Animation.

Melody Maxim began as a consultant in March 2006, advising us on issues relating to perfusion. She became a full-time staff member in August 2006, is our perfusionist, serves as a readiness coordinator, and provides liaison with clients who make arrangements to receive standby, transport, and stabilization procedures from Suspended Animation.

Melody has a BS in Allied Health Science and a Certificate in Perfusion Technology from Baylor College of Medicine. Following her graduation from BCOM she worked as a Certified Clinical Perfusionist with the same cardiovascular surgery group for nine years. During this time she performed as the primary perfusionist on approximately 1,500 open-heart surgeries, including many cases where profound hypothermia was induced accompanying circulatory arrest. She also participated in other capacities in hundreds of additional heart surgeries, orthopedic cases and trauma cases. In addition to her surgical duties, Melody sat on various hospital committees concerned with patient care and cost-containment, and was responsible for establishing and maintaining a detailed patient database system.

Piotr Ruc is a certified welder with over 14 years of education and work experience. Before joining Suspended Animation he worked in the automotive industry, in Michigan, doing welding/fabricating, tool building, mold making, automotive prototype work, machining, tool and die repair, and building automated assembly lines and components for GM, Ford, and Daimler Chrysler. He also worked in the aircraft industry, fabricating tooling for Boeing, Sikorsky and Lockheed.

After moving to South Florida, Piotr started working in the Marine Industry, building towers, railings and ladders for custom sport fishing yachts. At SA he is in charge of all metal work and welding/fabricating. Piotr also works with the designers on new product development and design, customizing the vehicles, and different types of problem solving and modifications of existing tools and equipment.

Ken Schroeder started his career in design shortly after becoming a housing contractor and found a love for designing objects combining creativity and utility, using innovative materials. He graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where he studied Industrial Design. After joining Suspended Animation in August 2006 he tackled a series of projects requiring initiative and creativity, beginning with vehicle access ramps and continuing with the interior of our smaller rescue vehicle. He brings to Suspended Animation a combination of practicality and original thinking.

Some of Ken’s prior design work can be viewed online at his personal web site, ktschroeder.com.


Revised Managerial Responsibilities

Following the departure of Bary Wilson, who had served briefly as the General Manager of Suspended Animation, Charles Platt was reluctant to resume full-time responsibility in that role. For several weeks we delegated managerial functions increasingly among three people: Gary Battiato, supervising design and fabrication; Kelly Kingston, dealing with all administrative and financial tasks; and Melody Maxim, managing the medical and readiness functions of the company. In November, 2006 this arrangement was formalized so that everyday management is now divided among these three staff members while Saul Kent retains oversight as CEO.


Charles Platt Relinquishes Responsibilities as Director

In November Charles Platt submitted his resignation as a director of Suspended Animation. Charles continues to work for the company on a part-time basis as a consultant, primarily concerned with development of an improved, transportable system for liquid ventilation. He will be assisting with preparations for our May conference and in the planning and design of rapid cooling and transport enclosures for vitrified patients.

Charles has reduced his involvement in Suspended Animation partly because he wants to spend more time out of Florida pursuing writing projects. He hopes to finish a novel during 2007, and recently wrote a piece on cryobiology for MAKE magazine (a quarterly publication where he has become a regular contributor). He is nearing completion of text, photographs, and page layouts in a handbook for prospective members of Alcor Foundation.


Charles Platt Relinquishes Responsibilities as Director

In November Charles Platt submitted his resignation as a director of Suspended Animation. Charles continues to work for the company on a part-time basis as a consultant, primarily concerned with development of an improved, transportable system for liquid ventilation. He will be assisting with preparations for our May conference and in the planning and design of rapid cooling and transport enclosures for vitrified patients.

Charles has reduced his involvement in Suspended Animation partly because he wants to spend more time out of Florida pursuing writing projects. He hopes to finish a novel during 2007, and recently wrote a piece on cryobiology for MAKE magazine (a quarterly publication where he has become a regular contributor). He is nearing completion of text, photographs, and page layouts in a handbook for prospective members of Alcor Foundation.


Transportable Perfusion Kit Upgrade

Melody Maxim has instigated significant revisions to the Transportable Perfusion Kit which Suspended Animation derived originally from an Alcor design. This equipment is used to replace the blood with an organ preservation solution prior to the transport of patients on water ice.

The revised circuit is now very similar to those used in open-heart surgery. The collapsible bag reservoir has been replaced with a hardshell reservoir, which offers many advantages including a four-liter capacity, more than double that of its predecessor. The hardshell reservoir also includes an integrated filter that will prevent clots or other emboli from being passed through the occlusive pump tubing where it could be broken down into smaller emboli and introduced to the patient. This filter has the added benefit of being coated with an anti-foaming agent.

An emergency recirculation line has been added between the oxygenator and the reservoir, and a purge line has been added between the arterial line filter and the reservoir. These changes to the perfusion circuit were reviewed and validated by Critical Care Research in collaboration with their consulting perfusionist, prior to being incorporated into the Suspended Animation circuit.

In conjunction with new FDA-approved level sensor alarms that we purchased recently, our upgrades minimize the risk of introducing air or particulate emboli to the patient. The level sensors were tested in-house and performed at flow rates well beyond those commonly used in cryonics or open-heart surgery.

Temperature probe experiments allowed us to relocate the temperature monitoring ports to the reservoir and oxygenator, eliminating additional connectors and further simplifying the circuit. We have also recently ordered FDA-approved pressure display boxes and alarms that have been used for decades in open-heart surgery. These will be invaluable in monitoring patient pressure and perfusion circuit pressure.


Clients for Suspended Animation

At the end of 2006, 22 members of the Cryonics Institute had made contractual arrangements to become eligible for standby, stabilization, and transport procedures from Suspended Animation. We remain on-call to the American Cryonics Society for any case where they provide authorization, and we believe we are close to an agreement that will formalize our ability to provide procedures for some Alcor members, at the discretion of Alcor.

During 2006 the majority of new members of the Cryonics Institute chose to augment CI’s services with those of Suspended Animation.


Pre-Conference Preparations

Our preparations for the SA conference are in progress. Kelly Kingston has been making plans with small bus companies to transport people from the hotel to our facility in Boynton Beach; is seeking companies that will make video and audio recordings of the entire event; and will be finalizing arrangements for banners and signs, badge designs and production, and binders for conference materials. Kelly, who also serves as our CFO, will be managing the conference schedule.


Lack of Cases

2006 was an extremely unusual year in cryonics. Although both of the principal organizations continued to acquire new members, very few cases occurred.

The American Cryonics Society reported no cases at all.

The Cryonics Institute notified us of one pending case in which we might have done a standby, but we chose not to participate because no prior agreement had been established between us and the patient or the next of kin, and there was some question in our minds whether the patient was able to give informed consent.

Alcor has not yet invited any of our staff or consultants to participate in a case.

Early in January of this year, Aschwin de Wolf visited the Cryonics Institute to observe a case in which an autopsy had turned out to be unavoidable. Although no standby was involved, Aschwin obtained first-hand experience with CI’s cooldown procedures, and his knowledge will be very useful to us as we contemplate building our own cooldown equipment (see below).


Vehicle Update

Our Dodge Sprinter van (the smaller of our two vehicles) is now at a stage where the major work has been done, leaving us to take care of numerous small details. Ken Schroeder has designed a very elegant and practical quick-release catch to secure the ice bath during transport, and has been adapting the vehicle access ramps to work on uneven terrain. He has completed an ingenious and functional design to retain a large (H size) compressed gas cylinder, has sewn webbing to retain supplies at the rear of the vehicle, and has completed the system for storing two Honda generators in an externally accessible compartment that ventilates the generators while maintaining total separation from the inside the vehicle, where oxygen may be used.

The only major deficiency in the vehicle is the flooring, which we want to replace with a seamless, liquid-poured covering. Also, although our ultra-high-power white 10 cm LEDs provide an ideal shadowless working light, we need to supplement them with focused illumination for procedures.

We feel pleased with the way that the Sprinter is developing.


Change in Airline Baggage Restrictions

When Charles Platt and Gary Battiato transported experimental equipment to California recently, they made the disconcerting discovery that Delta Airlines has downgraded its weight limit for checked baggage from 100 lbs to 70 lbs per piece. Since one of the transport containers for our standby kit weighs almost 100 lbs, we have now repacked it in two containers.

Melody Maxim has since embarked on a painstaking survey to update our list of airline baggage limits, which had not been revised in the past year.


Liquid Ventilation Research

If a chilled, breathable liquid is introduced to the lungs of a patient, the lungs can act as a heat exchanger, cooling the blood. When cooled blood is circulated by chest compressions after cardiac arrest, it can reduce the temperature of the brain far more effectively than surface cooling by water ice.

Pioneered by Mike Darwin with Steve Harris and Sandra Russell, liquid ventilation has been proven effective in animal studies and could save the lives of thousands of people annually by lengthening the tolerable interval between cardiac arrest and resuscitation. This application would require FDA certification, but in the meantime liquid ventilation can be of significant value in cryonics cases, reducing the incidence of ischemic injury by lowering the temperature more rapidly than existing methods permit.

Alcor showed a possible liquid ventilation configuration at its conference in 2006. We have been pursuing a design which differs from Alcor’s in some significant respects. A recent preliminary test of our portable system achieved a cooling rate comparable to laboratory equipment at Critical Care Research. Charles Platt is now working on a version which will be lighter and more compact. Since this is very much a work-in-progress, we are not offering additional details at this time.

Correction: Our conference brochure failed to mention Mike Darwin as the originator of the liquid ventilation concept. We apologize for this oversight.


Pelican Container Support Frame

Pelican brand containers are our primary resource for air transport of equipment. They are glass-fiber-reinforced and have proved themselves in many cryonics cases.

In conjunction with the liquid ventilation work mentioned above, Charles Platt has completed the design of a wheeled frame that can support two Pelican containers for convenient use during a case. The frame breaks down into a set of bars and rods which will fit easily inside a mailing tube. Threaded knobs clamp the frame around the containers to make a very rigid assembly. Piotr Ruc has constructed the prototype, which may be modified slightly for the final version.


Ice Bath for CI

The Cryonics Institute requested a portable ice bath to satisfy their particular requirements, including legs that will fold semiautomatically when the bath slides into the vehicle used by their mortician. This is similar to the configuration of a paramedic stretcher, although an ice bath has to satisfy additional requirements such as accommodating more than 100 lbs of ice and, under some circumstances, a Thumper that is clamped across the side rails of the bath.

Piotr Ruc has completed a prototype that was designed by Charles Platt. The next stage will involve testing and installation of a quick-release system to lock and unlock the legs.

The advantage of this type of ice bath is that it can be easily loaded into any vehicle, including those with limited headroom. The disadvantage is that there is no storage space under the bath for any components or equipment, including oxygen bottles or, in the future, liquid ventilation.


Alternatives for Cardiopulmonary Support

Approximately three decades ago, Alcor introduced the Michigan Instruments “Thumper” to provide mechanical chest compressions after cardiac arrest, with the goal of restoring circulation, rapid induction of hypothermia, and delivering medications.

Unfortunately the Thumper is noisy, bulky, and difficult to adjust correctly. It consumes very large volumes of compressed gas—oxygen, when this is required to ventilation the lungs. This can create a significant fire hazard. In addition, gas bottles are extremely heavy and are not air-transportable.

The LUCAS, a European system for applying chest compressions, is quieter and self-adjusting, but cannot accommodate obese patients and still requires large volumes of gas. Alcor obtained one LUCAS during 2003 but has not acquired more.

Near the beginning of our company’s history, Suspended Animation commissioned Michigan Instruments to design a version of their Thumper customized for use in conjunction with our ice bath. The integration of this system is a definite improvement, which Gary Battiato enhanced by adding an oxygen outlet and vent hose to reduce the risk of combustion when the system is used in a vehicle. Still, the noise of the Thumper and its need for compressed gas are unchanged, causing us to feel that the ideal CPS device has not yet been created for cryonics cases.

Gary Battiato and Charles Platt have begun examining alternatives. Since chest compressions inevitably require a significant amount of power, and any device must be unaffected by partial submersion in a bath filled with water and ice, there are significant design challenges.

Gary’s first prototype was tested recently with successful results, and is now being revised. We will provide more information when it is closer to a final design.

In the meantime Charles Platt devised a handheld device to apply manual compressions using muscle power, with less effort but greater efficiency than any other system currently available. While this concept is not unique, Charles’s design requires only $10 of materials and has produced encouraging results. A preliminary test generated peak readings of 91 mm systolic pressure and 38 mm mean arterial pressure. We will be adding an electronic metronome to prompt the user, and a high-pressure alarm to prevent excessive force that could injure the patient.


New Blood-Gas Monitoring Equipment

Suspended Animation has recently purchased the I-STAT, a portable bedside blood gas analyzer. Mathew Sullivan and Aschwin de Wolf have been trained and certified in the use of this equipment. The I-STAT will assist SA in physiological monitoring during a case, will provide better data acquisition, and will improve case reporting and quality assurance. Being able to do routine blood gas analysis will contribute to answering the question of whether the objective of securing viability of the brain was achieved during stabilization.


Vitrification Capability

When we listed our goals after a change of management in 2004, one of the long-term objectives was to achieve vitrification capability. If we can perform cryoprotective perfusion in our own operating room, we can reduce the ischemic time for local patients and minimize brain injury by transporting at a safe temperature far below the melting point of water ice.

Since Suspended Animation has achieved many of its near-term objectives during the last two years, vitrification has become a more immediate goal. In mid-2006 work began on equipping our operating room in collaboration with a cardiovascular surgeon and other advisors. We have constructed a basic vitrification circuit incorporating an industrial subzero chiller capable of cooling the perfusate well below 0 degrees Celsius during cryoprotection. This circuit could be used for manually controlled perfusion.

Working formulas for the vitrification and carrier solutions have been documented. We have mixed a number of small batches of these very expensive solutions, in order to perform a variety of laboratory experiments that will provide us with a better understanding of the variations between different formulations, before we are ready to mix larger batches. We have encountered some of the same problems that have been noted elsewhere when mixing M22, the vitrification solution developed by 21st Century Medicine in California. In collaboration with the laboratory and with Alcor Foundation we have been pursuing solutions to these problems.


Rapid Cooling and Intermediate-Temperature Transport

After cryoprotective perfusion with a vitrification solution, a patient must be cooled rapidly to minimize the toxicity of the solution. Probably the simplest way to achieve this is by injecting liquid nitrogen into a large volume of rapidly circulating air. The nitrogen absorbs heat from the air as it changes state from liquid to vapor. The air then absorbs heat from the patient.

Early in the history of Suspended Animation, the company built an ambitious rapid-cooling enclosure which was intended to do dual duty as a transport container. This was a massive box fabricated from heavy-gauge stainless steel and aluminum. It would have required a fork-lift truck to load it onto a vehicle, and was intended to contain its own large, unpressurized reservoir of liquid nitrogen. For various reasons, including the size of the system and some safety issues, we decided with some regret to abandon this concept in 2004.

Several of us have visited the Cryonics Institute and have been impressed by the simplicity and ease-of-use of the LabView software which they use to control cooling. We are concerned about cost issues, however, and we are studying the option of using simpler off-the-shelf control hardware.

Also we are evaluating the requirements for rapid cooldown and transport. Building just one container for both of these procedures offers obvious advantages, but the design requirements for a rapid cooling enclosure may be very different from those of a transport container. This encourages us to think in terms of two separate boxes, even though the patient would then have to be moved from one box to the next.

Rapid cooling requires a brute-force approach, creating as much turbulence as possible to disrupt the boundary layer of warm air that tends to surround a patient. Since rapid cooling is performed in a facility where plentiful supplies of liquid nitrogen can be available, efficiency is not a primary concern.

For transport, our goal is to move the patient at a very stable temperature, near the glass transition point (typically around –120 degrees C) at which a vitrification solution solidifies. This has been referred to as an “intermediate” temperature because it is above the –196 degrees of liquid nitrogen but below the –79 degrees of dry ice and the 0 degrees of water ice. The advantage of maintaining a patient at an intermediate temperature is that it should minimize or eliminate the fracturing, which we believe is caused by thermal stress when a patient is cooled to –196.

Since Alcor has already tested an intermediate temperature Storage unit, and CI may offer intermediate temperature storage at some time in the future, we have an additional incentive to design a system around this temperature, so that we will not have to upgrade our equipment in the future.

We have been advised that the overall temperature of the patient must be held within +/– 5 degrees C, and spatial variations throughout the body must be minimized to prevent thermal stress. One way to achieve this is by emulating the design developed by biophysicist Brian Wowk for long-term intermediate temperature storage, using a heavy-gauge aluminum shell that conducts heat and averages out any local temperature variations, in conjunction with a reservoir of liquid nitrogen and small, low-wattage heaters. This design has been patented, and any use of it would entail obtaining a license to the patent.

In the past some organizations have transported cryonics patients immersed in liquid nitrogen (most notably when Alcor relocated from Riverside, California to Scottsdale, Arizona, and later when patients in the custody of the American Cryonics Society were relocated from CryoSpan, in California, to the Cryonics Institute, in Michigan). However, no one has ever attempted transport around –120 degrees Celsius, and in the absence of prior art to guide us, we are proceeding cautiously while studying all the options. This is a joint effort of all staff in the company, in conjunction with outside consultants. We especially appreciate the advice we have received from Brian Wowk.


Training and Practice Sessions

We have initiated a new approach to training sessions, bringing in fewer people for each event while focusing in greater depth on a smaller range of topics. On December 6th we welcomed four of our local paramedics and Todd Huffman, an Alcor member who lives in Phoenix, Arizona and has participated in many cryonics cases. Todd stayed an extra couple of days to advise us on laboratory work. He also practiced with the new transportable perfusion circuit developed by Melody Maxim.

Training and practice sessions are now oriented partly to determine the ideal roles for team members during a possible case. We are particularly interested in evaluating candidates who may serve as Team Leader.


Publication

In the Spring of 2006 Aschwin de Wolf wrote an article titled “Human Cryopreservation Stabilization Medications,” which was published by Alcor in Cryonics magazine, describing the purpose, background, and application of the stabilization medications that Suspended Animation includes in its protocol. A longer version of this article can now be found online at:

http://www.alcor.org/Library/html/stabilizationmeds.html

 
   
BULLETINS
   
Number 14
December 22, 2008
   
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February 13, 2008
   
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October 12, 2007
   
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September 19, 2007
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April 16, 2007
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January 8, 2007
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October 30, 2006
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March 11, 2006
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January 8, 2006
   
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September 16, 2005
   
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August 2, 2005
   
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June 12, 2005
   
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May 22, 2005
   
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