(Houston – July 26, 2021) – LifeGift, the organ procurement organization (OPO) facilitating organ and tissue donation in Southeast, West, and North Texas, and Ossium Health, a therapeutics company harnessing the power of stem cell science to improve treatment for patients with blood and immune diseases, are proud to announce a collaborative partnership. In 2017, LifeGift was the first OPO to work with Ossium and this ongoing partnership resulted in the successful banking of cells from their first clinically transplantable donor at the beginning of 2020. Cell banking systems are set up to assure a uniform population of cells is preserved, their integrity maintained, and a sufficient supply of material is accessible for the life of the product.
Bone marrow recovered by LifeGift and Ossium Health’s other OPO partners is processed for future use in transplant tolerance for individuals receiving organ and tissue transplants, bone marrow transplant for blood cancer patients, and regenerative medicine cell therapies for patients with a variety of inflammatory, autoimmune, and degenerative conditions.
Roughly 20,000 new U.S. patients seek a bone marrow transplant each year, but only 30 percent have a relative who provides a match. Of the remaining 14,000 patients, fewer than 5,000 receive transplants from unrelated donors. The living donor bone marrow registry, autologous bone marrow transplants, and umbilical cord blood banks have provided lifesaving solutions for thousands of patients with hematologic diseases. However, these methods still experience significant limitations driven by the scarcity of matched bone marrow.
LifeGift’s partnership with Ossium Health enables transformative clinical work such as Ossium’s recently approved clinical trial for intestinal transplants. Intestinal transplantation is rare because of historically high rejection rates. However, by infusing bone marrow cells from the same donor as the transplanted intestines, the immune system could see the donor organ as “self” so that long-term graft acceptance can be achieved without life-long immunosuppression.
“We are thrilled to have been the first collaborating partner with Ossium Health among all organ procurement organizations more than four years ago,” says Kevin Myer, president and CEO of LifeGift. “This partnership aligns perfectly with LifeGift’s focus on research and innovation to support our efforts to increase transplantation. We are relentless in our goal to save more lives through donation, and Ossium Health’s initiatives will drive clinical advancements allowing us to help more patients and advance important clinical research.”
“Ossium’s first of its kind bone marrow bank combined with bone marrow recovered by LifeGift establishes a powerful new platform for bringing cell therapies to patients across the globe,” says Ossium co-founder, president and CEO, Kevin Caldwell. “The future looks bright as the partnership moves forward to improve the health, vitality, and longevity of human beings through bioengineering.”
LifeGift is a nonprofit, 501(c) 3 organization offering hope to individuals needing transplants in 109 Texas counties in Southeast, North and West Texas. LifeGift is a founding member of Donate Life Texas, the organization that manages the organ, eye and tissue donor registry. Please visit www.LifeGift.org.
About Ossium Health
Ossium Health is a therapeutics company that leverages its unique deceased donor bone marrow banking platform to develop stem cell therapies for patients with life-threatening blood and immune diseases. Founded in 2016, the company is run by its Co-Founder, President & CEO Kevin Caldwell, and its Co-Founder, EVP & Chief Science Officer Erik Woods. The company’s mission is “to deploy cellular therapeutics and bioengineering to produce lasting gains in the health, vitality, and longevity of human beings.” Ossium is a Public Benefit Corporation. Learn more about Ossium at www.ossiumhealth.com.