One of the first questions every new startup has to ask itself is: How do I best invest my resources? Cryonic companies have to work with a lot of different types of technology, so knowing what to finance is crucial for a cryonics startups’ success. On top of purchasing medical tools and machinery commonly used in hospitals, Tomorrow Bio also has to focus on building its very own equipment that can’t be bought anywhere else.
In this article we will shine light on the type of technology Tomorrow Bio invests in, and how we plan on improving our service via further investments in the future.
For modern companies, especially those specializing in cutting-edge medical fields like cryonics, it’s almost always a good idea to invest in technology. Over the course of the 1900s, technological change has rapidly advanced. Especially towards the early 2000s, we can see an outstanding increase in efficiency across all sectors, thanks to investments in new technology.  So, too, is this prevalent in the medical sector.
In the past, the medical sector remained something largely left in human hands (literally). Gradually, specialized equipment for all kinds of procedures were invented, contributing to an increase in longevity over time. In the 1960s, discussion surrounding computer-assisted treatment began. “Nonetheless, at that time, physicians generally did not adopt computers on a number of sensible grounds.”
It was a common belief that only humans could properly treat other humans, and that one shouldn’t rely on untested technology, but rather on one's own expertise as a medical practitioner.
As computer-technology became more established over time, however, it started becoming utilised all across the medical sector.
For example, machinery was built for the purpose of scanning our bodies in the field of radiology. This includes techniques such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and more. Computers soon enabled digital screening and processing of results, allowing these machines to unfold their full potential. One of many areas of application leading the way for computer-assisted medicine.
Today, the medical field is highly digitalized in many areas. Most hospitals (~81% in Europe ) make use of digital systems that help monitor and record patient data, amongst many other things. In well equipped facilities, doctors rely on robotic arms to conduct procedures that require extreme precision.
At Tomorrow Bio, we purchase and build a lot of specialized equipment, and further fine-tune it for use in cryonics. A lot of consideration goes into what we invest money in.
Here are some of the technologies we are continuously working on and with.
One rather new technology assisting medical care is “LUCAS” - a chest-compression device mostly used for cardiac arrest patients. It provides “significantly improved return of spontaneous circulation rates, going from 26% to 41%, in the ED”.  LUCAS devices are also commonly used in the early stages of cryoprotection by Tomorrow Bio. Its main purpose is re-establishing blood circulation in the patient’s body. This way it can use the remaining oxygen in the blood and support cooling via convection. A LUCAS device can be used for as long as it’s needed. Once the standby team is ready for the perfusion procedure, they’ll remove the LUCAS. Of course, this isn’t the only technical equipment Tomorrow Bio has invested in.
During cryoprotection, a perfusion system is used to remove blood from the patient's body and substitute it with cryoprotection agents.
A perfusion system consists of many parts, one which is the roller pump, the same used in cardiopulmonary bypass systems. In addition there’s an heat exchanger, an arterial filter as well as static and dynamic bubble traps.
Tomorrow Bio will look into further optimization of this system by regularly testing out new components. If a new part proves useful for the process, it may be added to the system. This way we are aiming to make the perfusion process faster and more efficient over time.
Our perfusion system is but one of our investments. One of the main, and most important, undertakings we have conducted so far was the construction of our Tomorrow Bio ambulance. Having a sterilized, fully-equipped, and safe space for field cryoprotection is key for a high quality cryopreservation. To achieve this, we started out with a regular ambulance vehicle, and step-by-step, customized it to perfectly suit the cryoprotection procedure of Tomorrow Bio.
This included rearranging all the drawers for medical and surgical relevance, the addition of an ice bath, perfusion system and a plethora of monitoring tools. All of which have undergone multiple adjustments and upgrades ever since. Our ambulance is well equipped for cryoprotection, thanks to the inclusion of state-of-the art technology usually only found in stationary environments.
We also invested into building a custom cooling box that was created for alternative transportation, such as by plane. After the cryoprotection procedure, the box is used to safely bring the patient to the long term storage. This appliance is used if the patient is hard or impossible to reach with our ambulance. The transportation box gradually cools down the patient's body as it is on its way to the EBF long-term storage facility in Rafz, Switzerland. It’s well insulated and filled with dry ice to keep a low temperature during transportation.
Once we arrive at the European Biostasis Foundation (EBF) storage facility, Tomorrow Bio’s patients are placed inside a cooling chamber. Here, their body temperature is lowered to the temperature we need for long-term storage: -196°C. The chamber even includes an automated cooling-system. Computerized cooling allows for a more controlled lowering of the temperature to avoid thermal stress. No other purchasable (human-sized) cooling device is capable of this feat as of now.
Tomorrow Bio tends to invest in parts instead of buying pre-built equipment to make sure we have full control over the product and can adjust it to fit our specific needs. This gives us room to implement future improvements.
Occasionally we do put money into ready-to-go technology. Such is the case with well established systems like autoclave, a machine used to sterilize surgical tools.
In EBF’s long term storage facility there is more technology to discover. Here, our cryogenic storage dewars take center stage. We purchase customized dewars to best protect our patients from any outside influences, and invest in developing Intermediate Temperature Storage (ITS) dewars to improve long term storage. Research on these matters is conducted by EBF, who’s board members consist of a group of individuals very eager to drive the field of biostasis forward.
Being quick and efficient is crucial for high-quality cryoprotection and preservation. This is why Tomorrow invests in state of the art technology; to make our service the best it can be.
We always keep an eye on new technological advancements that could benefit cryopreservation. This way, we make sure that our procedures are up to date with modern standards.
In the meantime, we will steadily upgrade our custom-built ambulance and other investments as we figure out more ways to improve them.
If you want to support our efforts, why not become a Tomorrow Fellow? - With this program you can not only get special benefits and save up for your future cryopreservation, but also support biostasis research for just 5€ per month. We would be very happy to welcome you as a fellow.