X-Message-Number: 14315
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 03:08:27 -0400
From: Paul Wakfer <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #14307 - credit to Pichugin
References: <>

> Message #14307
> From: 
> Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2000 18:58:39 EDT
> Subject: credit to Pichugin
> In all the euphoria about recent research results involving the INC, 21CM
> etc., there has (as far as I have noticed) been very little public
> acknowledgement of the role of Yuri Pichugin,

I especially pride myself on a passion for justice and seeing that both
credit and censure are fairly given.
For reference here are the things that I have recently written about
Yuri on CryoNet. Anything else said about him was facts regarding his
visa situation or how 21CM regards him, about which I have no control.

In CryoNet #14270, I wrote:

However, the research had been going so badly and so slowly (mainly due
to communication problems between Greg Fahy and Yuri Pichugin mostly
caused by the distance between 21CM and REI and the
language/cultural/scientific style barriers) that I was not convinced
that it would be a good use of the INC donor's money to continue the
project (although I had no other plans for it), and Greg himself was
not convinced of this.
[In January 2000] the project (and Yuri) finally got on the right track
and began suddenly to do credible and positive work. The sound science
that began then has continued up to the present and there is now little
chance of its reverting to its former chaotic, inept state.
It is because of this now very positive atmosphere that I felt, in good
conscience, to be fully able to attempt more fund raising for the
project and was personally willing to put in the effort.

And in Cryonet #14304, I stated:

1) Yuri is now efficiently doing such valuable work under Greg's
guidance that he may run out of useful things to do, with the limited
equipment available at his location, before the end of the year or
before his new visa status comes through. If this happens then INC will
need additional funds to purchase the additional equipment necessary to
keep Yuri gainfully occupied.

> who did much of the
> experimental work (and some of the theoretical work) that led to the
> optimistic pronouncements on brain cryopreservation at Alcor's Asilomar
> conference.

That is a fair description of Pichugin's contribution, but that
contribution was only to part of the "pronouncements".
Only a portion of Greg's talk and none of Brian Wowk's talk were related
to Yuri's work.
> For various reasons, certain people involved don't want direct attribution or
> direct quotations, but from highly placed or/and well informed sources I have
> been given to understand the following, summarized and paraphrased:
> Dr. Pichugin was the only cryobiologist that could be
> found--world-wide!--qualified and willing to work on the hippocampal slice
> project. (This is old news, of course.)
> The brain slice program is virtually indispensable for the larger whole-brain
> cryopreservation research.
> Dr. Pichugin created or mastered the experimental techniques after others had
> repeatedly tried and failed over a period of years. His skills may be unique
> and irreplaceable in the time frame of the next year or two at least.

I am not sure where this came from (see exact text below).
> He developed data showing that a temperature different from that previously
> used at Alcor for cryoprotectants, including glycerol, is preferable, and
> that led to improved results reported in the recent suspension of F.M.
> Esfandiary by Alcor.

For comparison, here is some of the *exact text* from the "highly placed
or/and well informed sources"

So the problem is simply that [21CM] is not funding the slice 
project, has no intention of funding the slice project, and has no
intention of supporting Yuri long enough for a trial period to be
completed, while in the meantime there is no guarantee that
Yuri's funding will last long enough for his trial period to be
completed.  The funding to support Yuri MUST come from
sources other than [21CM].  If Yuri falls one week short of
having the kind of work experience documentation [needed]
to convince [21CM] to hire him, he will likely go back to the
Ukraine, probably with vanishingly small prospects of returning.
What this means ... is that ... lose the ability to maintain a
brain slice program at 21st Century Medicine.  This would be a
great loss, because ... necessary ... to have whole organ and
organ slice work moving along in parallel to give each other
necessary insight. But Yuri, who spent months mastering this
technique, is the only one on the horizon who can give ... this
extra dimension. ... it would be a substantial loss to lose this
future wing of ... a major brain cryopreservation effort starting
in a few months.
the results of the slice project have ALREADY been used to
benefit Alcor patients.  It was only Yuri's data showing that
10oC exposure was better than zero degree C exposure to 
cryoprotectants that gave ... justification to achieve the kind
of glycerol concentrations ... achieved for FM2030.  Yuri's data
were at the forefront of ... thinking during FM2030's suspension.
... cut off the ramp as soon as ... could no longer maintain
perfusion at 10oC or below.  This number was not accidental, it
came directly out of the work at REI.  Furthermore, although ...
not use the new CPA formulae on FM2030, Alcor is now gearing up
to use these formulae on future patients.  The reason ... is, in
part, the observations made at REI that the new CPAs work ... for
rat hippocampi, being substantially more permeating and less
intrinsically toxic than glycerol. This is invaluable information
that could not possibly have been obtained any other way.
... now trying to push this forward with even better solutions,
and ... finding complications in doing so that could never be
known without this model.
goal of Paul's appeal is ... give Yuri a chance to continue to
contribute to brain cryopreservation research permanently. ...
to bridge Yuri from REI to 21CM ... lead to a comparatively vast
payoff in terms of the total work output of Yuri Pichugin over
the course of the rest of his life, working in the most ideal
environment in the world for the kind of work [he] wants to do.

I will not address the relevance, veracity or importance of the rest of
Bob's post, some of which has been discussed on CryoNet before.

Yuri Pichugin has shown himself to be a highly dedicated and competent
experimentalist on the work being done on the HSCP, which project was
conceived, designed, monitored, and overseen by Greg Fahy, and used
CPA's and initial viability assays provided by 21CM.
All involved deserve considerable credit and will continue to do so as
the project proceeds.

Paul Wakfer

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