Yuri Pichugin, “TOWARD BETTER VITRIFICATION”, public translation into Russian from English More about this translation.

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Dr. Yuri Pichugin, the Cryonics Institute's Director of Research, has been working on a different approach to vitrification. Elsewhere in this issue he has a brief report on preliminary encouraging results, with photos. I offer a bit of background here for the benefit of new readers especially; the photos are on the page with Dr. Pichugin's report. (He also has a longer report on his work last summer in the Ukraine and Russia.)

Vitrification means formation of a state that is called "vitreous" or "glassy" because, although it seems solid, it lacks the crystalline structure of ordinary solids and, depending on shape, may exhibit very slow flow or creep over long periods of time, something like tar in warm weather. In cryopreserved people, the potential advantage is that ice crystals are not formed, resulting in less damage to tissue.

(Cells do not burst as a result of freezing in almost any circumstances, because not only are animal cell walls generally elastic enough to accomodate a 10% expansion, but most of the ice is formed outside the cells. But there can still be mechanical damage to cell walls from nearby ice crystals and so on, which is avoided by vitrification.)

It must not be thought that freezing is totally destructive or leaves a patient in hopeless condition. Uncontrolled freezing does a great deal of damage, but still leaves many structures and even some functions intact, even in large specimens--that is why frozen tissue banks, including frozen brain banks, are valuable. Past CI methods, using a glycerolbased perfusate, have been proven (e.g. by light and electron microscopy) to leave much less damage than uncontrolled freezing. But vitrification holds potential promise of further advance, much less damage still.

At this point we must address the claims that other organizations already offer vitrification, or will license solutions and

procedures that result in vitrification. In particular, Alcor has now for some time applied a "vitrification" procedure to its neuro (head only) patients. But there are several problems.

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