Is cryonics a new market for Australia?

by Mark Benson on July 8, 2012

in Money, Business and Finance

Is cryonics a new market for Australia?

While there is no doubt that various Australian governments have been very forward thinking with regards to new technologies in the future many will be surprised to learn that cryonics may well be a new market for Australia. It was announced today that a company by the name of Stasis Systems Australia is currently looking for places to store the bodies of Australians who’ve chosen to have their bodies frozen after death in the hope they can be brought back to life in the future. So, is this a viable business going forward?

What is cryonics?

Cryonics is basically the method by which, after a person has been legally pronounced dead, their body is preserved at a very low temperature in the hope that in the future they may benefit from new cures for a variety of medical conditions. The idea is that the body is preserved at such a temperature as to maintain the structure of the body and the body’s organs and then it would be slowly thawed in the future and “healed”.

While the science may seem far-fetched and very futuristic there have been great developments in this particular field over the last decade or so. Scientists are currently able to freeze blood and freezer bone marrow and then thaw these elements with no damage to their structure or their functionality. Slowly but surely we should see some further developments with regards to the overall human body and in particular the human brain but some experts believe this is still many years down the line.

Is Stasis Systems Australia really a viable business?

Despite the fact that there are many doubters with regards to the science of cryonics there is also no doubt that many people believe this technology will be developed in the future and will allow humans to be “brought back to life”. Indeed the company, which is a not for profit company, has already attracted 10 investors who have paid $50,000 each to have their bodies frozen and stored when they die.

It is this 10 investor milestone which prompted the company to approach the Australian authorities and it is believed there have been talking to SA Health and the NSW Health Department. So far the company has reported generally upbeat discussions with these two parties in its quest to find suitable locations at which these bodies can be stored in the future. No final decisions have been taken as yet but it seems that at some point this technology will grow and the Australian authorities are keen to invest both time and money at this very early stage.

Why Australia?

The 10 investors so far are from Australia and with no suitable storage facilities yet available in the country they would have been forced to move overseas when approaching the end of their life which would prompt various travel difficulties when they were frozen. Therefore if the company was able to find suitable locations nearer to home this would obviously mean less travelling and less chance of any difficulties with the frozen bodies.

It seems inevitable that if suitable locations are found to store these bodies then this would encourage further investment in cryonics and indeed more interest in some of the other side issues. This is a science which continues to develop, is catching the attention of many researchers around the world and is believed by the vast majority of scientists to be a feasible process further down the line.

Is cryonics ethical?

One of the most obvious questions, aside from the risks associated with cryonics, is whether indeed it is ethical. Many people are of the opinion that when your time has come then you should “meet your maker” while others believe that developments in medicine, science and technology will massively extended the life expectancy of the human race in the future. There are indeed many scientists who believe that the vast majority of fatal illnesses prevalent today will indeed be cured in the future therefore there is every chance that people could be “brought back to life”.

This is a very controversial area of medicine and science and one which is attracted some very strong opinions from around the world. However, it is believed that 250 people around the globe have already been frozen after their death and a further 2000 have signed contracts for the procedure. It will also come as a surprise to learn that the first cryogenic freezing process actually occurred back in January 1967 although contrary to many rumours it was not the body of Walt Disney.

Looking ahead to the future

As we touched on above, there is no doubt that the Australian government and various local authorities around the country are particularly forward-looking with regards to their plans for the future. We have seen a number of historic investment programmes, taking significant time and money, come to fruition of late with the mining sector, where the government has cemented strong relationships with China and India, a particularly successful area.

The business of cryonics is obviously a very different situation but it is one which is attracting not only the attention of potential customers but also investors going forward. Indeed the fact that freezing blood and freezing bone marrow is perfectly plausible today is certainly a feather in the cap of the cryonics industry. Whether or not developments will be rapid in the future is a matter for debate but there is no doubt that progress has been and continues to be made.

Conclusion

The area of cryonics is not one which will readily spring to mind and it is also an area which has attracted more than its fair share of criticism and derogatory comments. However, the fact is that great progress has been made over the last few years and while scientists are nowhere near bringing back to life a frozen human body and in particular a human brain there are hopes for the future. Indeed a number of prominent scientists believe that many fatal illnesses and diseases of today will be eradicated in the future thereby allowing bodies to be brought back from the dead and “cured”.

If nothing else this certainly illustrates the forward thinking nature of the Australian authorities, something which is very important for today and the future.

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