A research team from 21st Century Medicine have managed to cryonically freeze a brain and recover it in near-perfect condition. Led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate Robert McIntyre, the organization has won the Brain Preservation Prize for small mammals by demonstrating their ability to almost perfectly preserve the ultrastructure of a whole rabbit brain using a new technique called “aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation.”
The ASC technique, as published in Cryobiology last year, fills the vascular system of the brain with chemicals that are designed to halt the decaying process before freezing it to -135 degrees celsius. When the brain was warmed, the scientists found that the majority of its cell membranes, synapses and structures were still intact and ready to function:
Using a combination of ultrafast chemical fixation and cryogenic storage, it is the first demonstration that near perfect, long-term structural preservation of an intact mammalian brain is achievable … The key breakthrough was the quick perfusion of a deadly chemical fixative (glutaraldehyde) through the brain’s vascular system, rapidly stopping metabolic decay and fixing proteins in place by covalent crosslinks.
The current method is believed to be applicable to almost any organ system; even entire bodies. However, the end goal, as stated in the official report, is to create a freezing process suitable for human use! Whether this process proves to be the cause or cure of a future zombie outbreak is yet to be seen. But the team fully intends to continue their work reviving the dead, and have already submitted pig brains prepared by the same technique for evaluation and consideration as an entry in the Large Mammal brain preservation prize.
For more information, please feel free to read the official announcements online from both The Brain Preservation Foundation and 21st Century Medicine. Additional details and results of the study itself can be found in the official report, published by Cryobiology.