Let's say you've been considering for some time whether or not cryonics, aka human cryopreservation, is right for you. At first, you thought it was something out of a science fiction movie, and didn't think it would ever work in real life. However, after some research you realized that, although the chances of success might be low (or better, unknown), they are still above zero. By signing up, you could potentially wake up in the future, and live an extended life in full health thanks to medical technological developments. Looking at the various cryonics providers, you discovered Tomorrow Bio, the fastest-growing organization based in Europe. We offer all-inclusive plans, which provide storage indefinitely at the long-term care facility of the European Biostasis Foundation (EBF). Want to learn more about where you could spend tens, if not hundreds, of years before future revival? We have you covered.
Let’s begin with a brief explanation of what a long-term storage facility is and what it’s for. As the name suggests, these are buildings specially constructed for the indefinite care of patients of a cryonics provider. For example, Tomorrow Bio members are stored at the EBF long-term storage facility in Rafz, Switzerland, after their legal death and cryopreservation. The main purpose of these buildings is to provide security and stability for their “residents”. Additionally, long-term facilities can be equipped with laboratories where scientists, doctors, and engineers conduct biostasis research. But what exactly happens in these peculiar buildings?
Once one of Tomorrow Bio's SST teams is notified of the imminent or recent death of a member, they’re sent to the location by the fastest method of transportation available. If the location can be reached by car, the team will travel in the specialized ambulance for SST. If they take a plane (or private medical yet), they’ll bring portable equipment with them. In any circumstances, our teams are prepared to perform field cryopreservation (FCP). It’s worth mentioning that the fast response of the SST teams is one of the main elements of high-quality cryopreservation, as it reduces ischemic damage to the brain.
This might suggest that the entire procedure is carried out before transporting the patient's body to the long-term storage facility. However, this is not the case. Once the patient is stabilized, cooled down (between -20°C and -80°C) and fully perfused, the team will transport them to the facility where the last step of the cryopreservation takes place. Medical staff place the body inside a computer-controlled cooling chamber used to gradually lower the temperature of patients to -196°C, the one of liquid nitrogen. When a patient passes through around -130°C, they enter a glass-like state and are vitrified for long-term preservation. This step usually takes up to a week, and only then will the Tomorrow Bio member be placed in their cryogenic storage dewar, where they’ll remain for the next some decades or even centuries.
In the event that a Tomorrow Bio member is close to the long-term care facility at the time of legal death, the procedure is carried out completely within the building.
Imagine trying to preserve a recently deceased person inside bulky containers, and at very low temperatures for a number of years that we can’t calculate without going into speculation. Such a mission can't be achieved by simply storing them in your garage. Nor can one imagine using a hospital or other public building. The human cryopreservation procedure, as a niche field, still has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream and widely established.
In order to keep cryonics patients in a state of biostasis indefinitely, cryonics providers need a dedicated and suitable facility. This must be built with long-term safety in mind, so far away from high risk areas prone to natural disasters. Furthermore, although it is difficult to predict how our society, government, and borders will evolve hundreds of years from now, it would be best to build long-term preservation facilities in economically and politically stable areas. Finally, cryonics organizations must ensure that their long-term care location is easily accessible for the various SST ambulances, and trucks carrying liquid nitrogen supplies.
One human cryopreservation storage center that meets all these prerequisites is the recently inaugurated EBF facility. Located in the center of the European continent, it provides a place of long-term care for all people who wish to be preserved in this part of the world. Moreover, it is a safe territory, geographically, economically, and politically. Switzerland ranks 6th in the Fund for Peace Fragility States index (2022) and 12th in the World Bank Political Stability Index (2021).
At this point you might wonder what the relationship between Tomorrow Bio and the EBF is. In order to guarantee long-term stability for cryopreserved members, without taking away from the dynamism and adaptability necessary for rapid growth, two entities were founded.
Tomorrow Bio, a start-up company based in Berlin, Germany, takes care of everything up to and including the cryoprotection procedure. People who decide to sign up for cryonics are in close contact with our staff who will be there to help them until the day one of our SST teams will finally take care of their cryoprotection. Furthermore, it is Tomorrow Bio that reaches out to people who might be interested in this practice, informs them of the existence of human cryopreservation and educates them on the subject. The European Biostasis Foundation (EBF), a non-profit organization based in Switzerland, is in charge of indefinite storage of Tomorrow Bio’s members and biostasis research.
The fact that these two roles are separate ensures that, should Tomorrow Bio go bankrupt at some point in the far future, members cryopreserved at EBF would be safe, and cared for until the day of possible future revival.
In case you missed our Biostasis2022 Conference and the tour of the EBF building, you may be wondering what this long-term storage facility looks like. After all, you could spend hundreds of years in this place, once cryopreserved.
So, let us give you a virtual tour. We’ll start in the lobby, where our annual conference took place. It’s here that people interested in visiting the facility and checking out their cryopreserved loved ones will be welcomed.
On the same floor (which would be the ground floor) are the labs. Perhaps one day medical engineers here will develop an efficient and cheap version of an intermediate temperature storage (ITS) dewar, ideal for reducing thermal stress on tissues. Or maybe EBF researchers will eventually succeed in warming and reviving a complex organism within these walls, allowing for future revival.
In the basement, you can see the medical and imaging room. Here, patients who pass away nearby the facility are cooled and perfused before undergoing vitrification in the cooling box. In addition, an imaging CT scanner can help with perfusion quality control and calculate ice formation. Body tissues brought to sub-zero temperatures can be damaged by the creation of ice crystals. This is dangerous especially for the brain as information necessary for a patient's personality and memory may be altered. For this reason, the SST team perfuses the body completely, replacing blood and water with cryoprotectants (CTAs).
Finally, we come to the room you were waiting for: the long-term storage area. This is where cryogenic storage dewars, filled with liquid nitrogen and cryopreserved patients, are kept waiting for future revival technology.
To conclude, here is a close up of one of Tomorrow Bio's stainless steel dewars. Like most devices used for human cryopreservation, this one can hold up to four people placed in compartments with a central column that can be used for cryopreservation of brains or pets. Patients are positioned upside down. This way, should there be a problem and a subsequent delay in filling the dewar with liquid nitrogen, the patient's brain wouldn’t suffer any damage.
By now you should have a fairly clear picture of what EBF's long-term storage facility looks like. Here, cryopreserved members of Tomorrow Bio will be cared for and monitored by the medical staff, and the dewars will be periodically filled with liquid nitrogen while waiting for possible future revival. We can't say how long it will take for medical technology to develop to the point where we can treat the causes of death of patients and revive them. What we can do is ensure safe storage for an indefinite period of time. The newly opened facility has all the prerequisites to provide the necessary stability for patients. Who knows, maybe you too will spend several years upside down in a dewar in this building!
For more information on cryonics, you can always check out our online editorial Tomorrow Insight. You will find several articles on human cryopreservation, as well as on futurism, innovative technologies, and longevity. If you feel like chatting with people interested in the topic, join our Discord server.