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Will Alcor offer the use of a fixative during cryopreservation procedures before 2030?
Aldehyde-Stabilized Cryopreservation (ASC) is
a brain-banking technique for preserving detailed brain ultrastructure over long time scales.
It was the technique that won the Large Mammal BPF Prize in 2018. ASC works by fixing biological tissue using glutaraldehyde, protecting the tissue from decay due to autolysis or putrefaction. However, glutaraldehyde is not the only fixative available. At the moment, ASC is merely the only technique that I'm currently aware of that uses a fixative to protect tissue prior to cryopreservation.
Alcor does not currently offer ASC for its members, writing a mixed review about it as a research direction in 2018, and without releasing any plans for adoption.
A common position among cryonicists is that ASC will not allow for successful revival since aldehyde fixation destroys biological viability. Proponents of ASC respond that it preserves fine tissue better than existing vitrification techniques, and is suitable for people who want their brain to be scanned and "uploaded" onto a computer. Ralph Merkle, writing for Alcor, has said
Rather obviously, if you want to cryopreserve someone you’d rather not perfuse them with glutaraldehyde. It’s a fixative. On the other hand, if you don’t use glutaraldehyde, then you’re going to get dehydration and shrinkage, which means you won’t get the pretty pictures that neuroscientists like.
Will Alcor change their mind and offer using a fixative in their cryopreservation procedure before 2030?
Resolution will be determined by a document released from Alcor reporting that they now offer the use of a fixative during an active cryopreservation for their members. If such a document is published by Alcor before 2030, this question resolves positively. Otherwise, it resolves negatively.
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