X-Message-Number: 2810
Date: 8 Jun 94 02:51:14 GMT
Subject: SCI.CRYONICS Research directions

Richard Schroeppel, <> (re msg 2790) writes:

>This suggests some near-term research objectives, for those with suitable
>1)  Working on reviving individual cells from frozen test animals.
>    Different kinds, eventually working up to neural tissue cells.
>    When the next human neuro-conversion occurs, revive some of
>    the body cells, including peripheral nerve cells.  (This elides
>    over important problems, such as reviving a tissue or organ
>    rather than just cells.)

Taking this one at a time, cells often frozen, stored and revived--
it is a very mature field.  The cells are normally frozen as a 
suspension, that is loose cells.  I don't think perfusing a whole 
animal, freezing it, and reviving cells from a small chunk of it 
should be difficult--but on the other hand, I don't know if it has 
actually been done.  Good suggestion!

I strongly suspect we could culture fibroblasts from all of our 
patients.  The people who do this work used to try to collect the 
cells before the former patient got cold, but they have found that 
there is not that much rush, they get good cells cultures from people 
who have been "on the slab" for 24-36 hrs.  Mike Darwin might know 
more detail since I think he told me about this.

Re nerve cells, the way people normally verify reviving cells is to 
let them divide in culture.  Since nerve cells don't divide, we would 
have to use a different criteria for survival.  Demonstrating nerve 
function (passing of electrical impulses) should be enough.  This may 
have already been done with frozen/thawed slices of brain or other 
tissue, but I am not sure.  There was, of course Suda's (sp?) work on 
whole cat brains. 

>2)  Culture some of these revived cells.

see above.

>3)  Extract DNA or nuclei from frozen or revived cells, and clone
>    a new animal.  Or show that some genes from the DNA are present
>    in a chimera.

Cloning a new animal seems to be well beyond our present abilities, at 
least for mammals.  The difficulty seems to be in parental "imprinting"
of genes.  (There have been some good Scientific American articles on 
this within the last 4-5 years.)  Re DNA, we can point to the fact 
that all the samples being used in the Human Genome project are stored 
and shipped around frozen, and this does not seem to be causing them 
any problems.

>4)  Sequence some of the extracted DNA.

see above point.

>Each of these projects is somewhat of a "showboat" rather than solid
>research aimed directly at revival of a patient.  But each of them
>has potential to persuade people that a scientific objection has been
>overcome, and that advances are being made.  They can be presented
>as "one small step, lots of work still to do" without over-claiming.
>They have the character of demonstrations, rather than pure research;
>but the point of demonstrations is to persuade.

We can (and have) located a lot of related work in related fields and 
point this out in various arguments in favor of cryonics working.  I 
think you have the right idea of demonstrations to persuade.  It is 
always a problem to pick something which makes a good demo, and still 
more of a problem to get enough support to do it.  I have a few ideas 
in this general direction, perhaps I can post more on specifics later.
Keith Henson

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