Scottsdale-based cryopreservation facility doubling size to meet - Tucson News Now

LIVE FOREVER?

Scottsdale-based cryopreservation facility doubling size to meet demand

2-year-old Matheryn from Thailand is the youngest person to be cryopreserved. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) 2-year-old Matheryn from Thailand is the youngest person to be cryopreserved. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
The operating room at Alcor's Scottsdale facility becomes very busy during a cryonics case. (Source: Alcor Life Extension Foundation) The operating room at Alcor's Scottsdale facility becomes very busy during a cryonics case. (Source: Alcor Life Extension Foundation)
In the cooldown facility, cooling to -130°C takes place under computer control. The result of this process is "vitrification" (solidification without freezing). (Source: Alcor Life Extension Foundation) In the cooldown facility, cooling to -130°C takes place under computer control. The result of this process is "vitrification" (solidification without freezing). (Source: Alcor Life Extension Foundation)
Following vitrification, neuropatients are placed in individual aluminum containers. (Source: Alcor Life Extension Foundation) Following vitrification, neuropatients are placed in individual aluminum containers. (Source: Alcor Life Extension Foundation)
Containers are finally immersed in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C for long-term care. (Source: Alcor Life Extension Foundation) Containers are finally immersed in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C for long-term care. (Source: Alcor Life Extension Foundation)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

If you could choose to live forever, would you? More people are banking on the idea of cryropreservation, hoping that after this life cycle ends, they can be preserved to one day be brought back.

"If I really considered him to be dead and gone forever, that would be just a horrible loss," Linda Chamberlain said of her husband. He passed away in 2012, but she said he's not dead. 

"You know your loved ones are there and it's just a very nice sense of being close," she said. 

Her husband is cryopreserved at a place you could consider their brain child - Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale. One day, Chamberlain will be here, too. 

"I don't really want to die and go out of existence," she said. "I would very much like to live into the future." 

"They're neither living nor dead," Dr. Max More, the president and CEO of Alcor, said of the nonprofit's clients. "They're in a holding pattern, and hopefully some sort of advanced technology of the future can repair whatever killed them in today's sense."

More said Alcor's process starts at the end.

"As soon as legal death has been declared, we move the patient to an ice bath," he explained.

More said cooling the patient using his or her own circulation stalls death. The patient is then moved to Alcor's operating room, where either the entire body or just the brain goes through a process called vitrification.

"The idea is to drain the blood and fluid within the cells as much as possible and replace it with increasing concentrations of our cryoprotectant, our medical-grade antifreeze," he said

Then, it's time for another ice bath of sorts in Alcor's "care bays." It's warm title for a bin of liquid nitrogen cooled to negative 320 degrees Fahrenheit. 

There are 144 patients at Alcor's facility, including baseball legend Ted Williams and the youngest person to ever be cryopreserved, 2-year-old Matheryn from Thailand.

Nearly 1,100 other people have paid for spots, even though, More admits, there are no guarantees.

"The fact that we offer uncertainty, doesn't really help our case," he said, "But I truly believe one day this will become our norm."

Neuro-reservation costs $80,000. Whole-body preservation is about $200,000. Alcor said most people pay with life insurance. There are also annual membership fees, around $700. But how does he feel about what some call helping people cheat death?

"I think there's no incompatibility between cryonics and religion, any more than there are between religion and open-heart surgery or anti-cancer drugs," he said.

"I put my hope and my faith in technology," Chamberlain said. She is not alone. Alcor said demand is growing so much it is going to double its storage space.

Chamberlain said this isn't just about what, or who, future science could regenerate, but rather about life worth living a second time around. 

"There's still hope for all those people that I love," Chamberlain said.

For those interested, Alcor welcomes the public in to take a tour; for more information, click here.

Copyright 2016 KPHO (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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