A Large-Scale Bank of Organ Donor Bone Marrow and Matched Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Promoting Immunomodulation and Transplant Tolerance

Brian H. Johnstone, Franka Messner, Gerald Brandacher, Erik J. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Induction of immune tolerance for solid organ and vascular composite allografts is the Holy Grail for transplantation medicine. This would obviate the need for life-long immunosuppression which is associated with serious adverse outcomes, such as infections, cancers, and renal failure. Currently the most promising means of tolerance induction is through establishing a mixed chimeric state by transplantation of donor hematopoietic stem cells; however, with the exception of living donor renal transplantation, the mixed chimerism approach has not achieved durable immune tolerance on a large scale in preclinical or clinical trials with other solid organs or vascular composite allotransplants (VCA). Ossium Health has established a bank of cryopreserved bone marrow (BM), termed “hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC), Marrow,” recovered from deceased organ donor vertebral bodies. This new source for hematopoietic cell transplant will be a valuable resource for treating hematological malignancies as well as for inducing transplant tolerance. In addition, we have discovered and developed a large source of mesenchymal stem (stromal) cells (MSC) tightly associated with the vertebral body bone fragment byproduct of the HPC, Marrow recovery process. Thus, these vertebral bone adherent MSC (vBA-MSC) are matched to the banked BM obtained from each donor, as opposed to third-party MSC, which enhances safety and potentially efficacy. Isolation and characterization of vBA-MSC from over 30 donors has demonstrated that the cells are no different than traditional BM-MSC; however, their abundance is >1,000-fold higher than obtainable from living donor BM aspirates. Based on our own unpublished data as well as reports published by others, MSC facilitate chimerism, especially at limiting hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) numbers and increase safety by controlling and/or preventing graft-vs.-host-disease (GvHD). Thus, vBA-MSC have the potential to facilitate mixed chimerism, promote complementary peripheral immunomodulatory functions and increase safety of BM infusions. Both HPC, Marrow and vBA-MSC have potential use in current VCA and solid organ transplant (SOT) tolerance clinical protocols that are amenable to “delayed tolerance.” Current trials with HPC, Marrow are planned with subsequent phases to include vBA-MSC for tolerance of both VCA and SOT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number622604
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - Feb 26 2021


  • bone marrow
  • chimerism
  • hematopoietic stem cell
  • immune tolerance
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • regulatory T cells
  • solid organ transplant
  • vascular composite allograft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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