Cryonic Brain Preservation
Recently, 23 year old Kim Suozzi who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer was seeking financial help for cryonic suspension. Diagnosed with an aggressive form of Glioblastoma multiforme, Kim died on January 17th and spent the final two weeks of her life at a hospice in Scottsdale, Arizona, close by to the cryopreservation center that she chose.
Suozzi was seeking financial help for her suspensial, which proved controversial but is now settled since the Alcor board agreed to fund her cryopreservation as a charity case, stating “The board accepted the CEO’s recommendation to accept Kim Suozzi as a charity case, based on arrangements that will reduce Alcor’s costs. The full allocation of $25,000 to the patient care trust fund will be made. Alcor members have contributed to the fundraising effort to enable Kim to be cryopreserved.” More controversial, however, is the possiblilty that many terminally ill patients might seek preservation as charity cases, potentially impacting the viability of the entire operation. Furthermore, cryopreservation is not a cure in itself, terminally ill patients could possibly not be the best test subjects for a successful preservation and revival simply due to the chance of succeeding.
The board also passed the following in addition to Ms. Suozzi’s preservation: “Alcor shall tender to the PCT (patient care trust) the full amount of the current PCT minimums for all underfunded cases, as soon as practicably consistent with Alcor’s cash flow needs, except to the extent that the PCT board waives some amount. Any amount not immediately paid shall be recorded as a liability to be discharged as soon as practicably possible.” It seems like Alcor’s goal is to preserve more people in order to help potentially cure them rather than those who can simply afford it. An altruistic goal most people would agree with.
Most importantly, Alcor CEO Max More wrote “If cryonics is to become more widely accepted in the general scientific community, we need to add to existing evidence for the effectiveness of our procedures. One way to do this is to gather more data during all stages of stabilization, transport, and cryoprotection. We can also gather evidence of the quality and effectiveness of brain perfusion and structural preservation by routine CT scanning of neuro patients and by conducting biopsies of the spinal cord and possibly other samples for all patients. The board expressed general support for carefully moving forward with this, ensuring that members understand what we propose to do.” The goals of Alcor are part of a broader one of the entire scientific community, and that goal is a better understanding of the brain. Whatever commercial or charity enterprise that gets us closer to that goal is one I can support.
Report on 2012 Alcor Strategic Meeting – Alcor News