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The Marshall W. Nirenberg Papers

Title:
Letter from Saul Kent, Life Extension Foundation to Marshall W. Nirenberg pdf (121,027 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Saul Kent, Life Extension Foundation to Marshall W. Nirenberg
Description:
Kent, president of the Life Extension Foundation (a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to scientists striving to extend the human life span), asks for Nirenberg's assistance in supporting cryonic suspension (freezing of the human body after legal death for the purpose of reanimation). A lengthy discussion of the scientific, social, and ethical implications of cryonic suspension is included. Kent asks Nirenberg to send him a letter of support in hope of fighting a ruling by the State of California Health Department making it illegal.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (121,027 Bytes)
Date:
1988-09-12 (September 12, 1988)
Creator:
Kent, Saul
Life Extension Foundation
Recipient:
Nirenberg, Marshall W.
Rights:
Courtesy of Marshall W. Nirenberg.
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Exhibit Category:
Beyond the Laboratory: Professional, Personal, and Political Life, 1967-2002
Box Number: 17
Folder Number: 37
Unique Identifier:
JJBBZS
Accession Number:
2001-013
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Language:
English
Format:
application/pdf
image/tif
Physical Condition:
Good
Series: Series III: Laboratory Administration, [1959]-1993
SubSeries: Daily Books, 1968-1996
Folder: #361 - #400, 1987 Aug-1988 Oct
Transcript:
Sep. 12, 1988
Dear Dr Nirenberg:
My name is Saul Kent. I am President of the Life Extension Foundation -- a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to scientists striving to extend the human lifespan.
I'd very much appreciate your assistance in helping to preserve the constitutionally-guaranteed right of all Americans to take advantage of advances in science and technology.
This right is now being threatened by an arbitrary and unlawful ruling by the State of California Heath Department that the practice of cryonic suspension is "illegal".
Cryonic suspension is the freezing of the human body after legal death for the purpose of future reanimation. Cryonic suspension is based upon the fact that storage of the human body at the temperature of liquid nitrogen (-196 deg. C.) preserves biologic systems indefinitely; and the premise that, at some future time, advanced medical technologies may be able to repair damage caused by injury, disease, and aging that is clearly irreparable today.
Cryonic suspension is controversial because its value lies in the prospect of future medical advances, rather than in the capabilities of today's medicine. As a result, many scientists have questioned its value. On the other hand, there are a significant number of established scientists who clearly recognize the value of this pioneering new technology, including: James B. Lewis, Ph.D, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA; Peter Gouras, M.D., Columbia University Medical Center, New York; K. Eric Drexler & Ralph C. Merkle, Ph.D, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA; Gerald Feinberg, Ph.D, Columbia University, New York; Gregory M. Fahy, Ph.D, American Red Cross, Rockville, MD; Daniel Alkon, Ph.D., National Institute Of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD: Paul Segall, Ph.D, Hal Sternberg, Ph.D & Harry Waitz, Ph.D, University of California at Berkeley, CA; and Hans Moravec, Ph.D, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.
I invite you to read the enclosed Question-And-Answer discussion of the scientific, social, and ethical implications of cryonic suspension.
The actions of the California Health Department have been challenged by the Alcor Life Extension Foundation of Riverside, California -- a non-profit organization that provides the service of cryonic suspension to its members. An Alcor member afflicted with AIDS has joined Alcor in a lawsuit to obtain a Court Order prohibiting the Health Department from interfering with his (and anyone else's) cryonic suspension. (See enclosed press release and newspaper story)
I'd greatly appreciate it if you sent a letter addressed to our attorney indicating that, in your opinion, cryonic suspension is a "rational gamble" (or words to that effect) that is of value to the individual who chooses it, and that any individual who wishes to be frozen after legal death has the right to do so. This letter will then be the basis for a legal declaration submitted to the court on behalf of the AIDS patient, the members of Alcor, and the American people.
Please send your letter and a copy of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) to: David B. Epstein, Attorney, Garfield, Tepper & Ashworth, 1925 Century Park East, Suite 1250, Los Angeles, California 90067, Telephone: 213/277-1981.
If you have any legal questions, please call David Epstein. If you have any other questions, please call Saul Kent at: 714/780-3252.
Sincerely,
Saul Kent
Metadata Last Modified Date:
2010-12-14
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