US Scientists prove cryogenically frozen life can be revived
US scientists prove cryogenically frozen life can be revived
Jamie Seidel, News Corp Australia Network
August 1, 2017 7:58pm
WANT to live forever? Or simply travel to a far future time? The chances of doing so just got a step closer, with a breakthrough in cryogenic freezing.
The most obvious use is space travel.
Space is big. And getting anywhere takes lots of time, not to mention resources.
So sending crews into a deep sleep makes sense.
If it can be made to work. And safe.
The idea is to preserve bodies and brains in a state of suspended animation.
Science has managed to do this for individual cells.
Reviving a living organism has proven to be a much more challenging matter.
The science journal ACS Nano has published an article where US researchers report successfully thawing — and reanimating — frozen zebra fish embryos.
It’s significant because 60 years worth of similar attempts have failed.
The core of the issue are ice crystals.
Frozen water expands. As a result, ice will burst a cell from the inside out.
Replacing part of a body’s fluids with antifreeze has long been thought of as a possible solution.
Antifreeze filled zebrafish embryos — chosen because they are largely translucent and easy to study — have been snap-frozen to -196C in liquid nitrogen now for decades.
The problem has defrosting them.
How to cryopreserve fish embryos and bring them back to life
“The large size of the yolk still impedes rapid cooling and warming, thereby yielding lethal ice crystal formation during cryopreservation,” the researchers write.
Even using a millisecond-long flash of warmth from a laser wasn’t raising their temperatures fast enough and evenly enough to avoid the emergence of ice crystals.
But the solution appears to be another additive to the original antifreeze: gold nano-rods.
These tiny fragments of metal conduct the laser’s heat.
This speeds up and distributes the laser’s warming process more evenly.
US researchers have successfully reanimated zebra fish embryos after 'deep freezing' them in a cryogenic suspension process. Source: ACS Nano
After being filled with the new antifreeze, and kept for a few minutes at -196C, they underwent the laser rapid-defrost treatment.
“This rapid warming process led to the outrunning of ice formation, which can damage the embryos,” the study says.
Some 10 per cent of the embryos survived, and began to grow — and move — once again.
It’s not great odds.
But it’s a very real start.
Originally published as Suspended animation a step closer