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23 Jul, 2010 05:53

Russians hopeful for second life fork out for cryopreservation

With science and technology making constant advances, some Russians believe eternal life is not such a distant reality after all – and they are ready to wait as long as it takes, even after their death.

In the 1993 science fiction film “Demolition Man”, Sylvester Stallone was cryogenically frozen in order to be awakened in the future – and more than a decade later Muscovite Vladislav Ryabchenko is attempting to have immortality on earth. In his mind, heaven can wait.

“My parents had a mixed reaction to this. My mum thinks it is a stupid waste of money. Most of my friends support me in this decision, because they are also pro-cryonics,” Vladislav says.

Vladislav is paying $30,000 to have his body stored after he dies at the KrioRus clinic near Moscow, which freezes humans in the hope of future resuscitation. It is the only clinic of its kind outside the US.

While Vladislav only wants a brain freeze, others have forked out large sums to have their entire selves frozen. The clinic's current body count stands at four.

In addition, the heads of eight refrigerated guests are stored in a liquid nitrogen filled vat. KrioRus says it cannot make any promises, but this might be a way to get a second change at life.

If science catches up with imagination, the brain will be transferred to a new body. The cost of the brain freeze is $10,000.

“Even if we can’t reverse the suspended animation right now, if we can preserve the structure, the information about the person, then we can still potentially revive him or her in the future,” says KrioRus chairman Danila Medvedev.

While some in the scientific community support investing in cryogenics, they believe major advances in the field are a long way off.

Controlling the thawing process is a major challenge – but nothing compared to bringing someone back to life.

“The problem at hand is resuscitation. It is biological death, an irreversible derangement,” says Aleksey Kovalyov, head of the laboratory of innovative biomedical technologies.

Yet, if the future can bring this Lazarus of the ice box back to life, what does he hope to do?

“My immediate goal is to fly somewhere to a star closest to us,” Vladislav says.

For Vladislav, an investment in what seems impossible today may be worthwhile in the future.