Life sciences: Limitless opportunities?


Of all the areas of industry that the industrial gases business touches upon, from bulk gases, refrigeration, carbon dioxide (CO2) safety, and manufacturing, one stands out as an enabler of innovation for the wider medical sector – the life sciences industry.

A vague term, life sciences encompasses a range of topics, from blood, stem cell and organ banks and specimen storage to controversial but fascinating areas such as cryonics and cryopreservation. The day-to-day application of cryopreservation usually revolves around the ultra-low temperature freezing and subsequent storage of living cells, such as blood cells, bone marrow, sperm, and embryos.

Stimulating both moral and ethical debate, cryonics, a type of cryopreservation, is when a recently deceased person is deep-frozen to eventually be revived in the future. Having featured in iconic sci-fi cinema such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the ship’s crew traverse astronomical distances across light years enabled by being placed into a state of cryosleep, to more modern fare such as the mind-bending Interstellar, in which the protagonist is placed into suspended animation   after being cooled down to around -200˚C, cryonics is something that seems possibly too far-fetched to be true.

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