Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center three years later. With the cut of a ribbon to open its doors, the new center would triple City of Hope’s donor capacity and quadruple its blood-processing capacity.
Amini, known for his innovative furniture designs, is the CEO of furniture design company Amini Innovation Corporation, or AICO. He received City of Hope’s highest honor, The Spirit of Life® Award, in 2013, and an honorary degree from the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences in 2014.
This month, Amini was on hand to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the building that is named for him and his generosity.
“I’ve made a lot of investments in my life. I’ve built my share of buildings,” Amini said. “But this building — the Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center — is a special place to me. I have not profited from this building, but what I have gained is a life-changing experience and a feeling of joy that we’re saving lives.”
A Huge Impact
“Michael is a remarkable philanthropic leader,” said Chief Philanthropy Officer Kristin Bertell. “His partnership has transformed the shape of our campus, the speed of our research and treatment, and the impact of our partnerships with the home furnishings industry. He is at the very core of City of Hope’s growth, and we are honored to join with him in our shared quest to bring new life to patients and families.”
A decade ago, transfusion medicine services were spread across many buildings on the Duarte, California, campus. Blood donor collections were performed in crowded trailers in the back of campus. The new center changed all of that. It allowed City of Hope to expand its transfusion services for transplant, oncology and surgery patients, to participate in leading-edge cellular therapy research, and to meet new and future government-mandated process requirements for blood and stem cells. The building was a critical cornerstone for a new phase of growth for City of Hope. It was the campus’ first LEED-certified building, and its advanced technology has increased City of Hope’s capacity for research and treatment with cellular therapies.
15,000 Bone Marrow Transplants
Today, the center is home to one of the largest hospital-based programs in the country, and City of Hope is on track to lead the nation in the number of transplants this year. City of Hope reached the milestone of 15,000 bone marrow transplants (BMTs) earlier this year, and will have performed 850 BMTs before the year ends. The stem cell processing lab in the building has the ability to store cell products for patients in current treatment, and if they need treatment in the future.
In 2013, City of Hope opened its Day Hospital for outpatient BMTs, resulting in more than 500 patients with multiple myeloma receiving transplants in an outpatient setting, which means lower costs and recovery at home (or in Hope and Parsons Village), surrounded by loved ones.
Each year, the blood donor center inside the building collects on average 37,000 units of blood and platelets. In the last 10 years, the center has performed nearly 25,000 infusions, and has enabled nearly 170,000 people to donate blood products, including 92,500 platelet units and more than 108,000 units of blood. Without Amini’s visionary gift, City of Hope would have had to spend more than $65 million to purchase those blood products from outside sources. That is significant cost savings that City of Hope has been able to pass on to its patients.
Melissa Stucky, director of Transfusion Medicine in the center, said, “We are the best at transfusion medicine and now, the biggest. We have mastered efficiency and are able to keep costs low, which benefits both our patients and the enterprise.”
“Michael enabled us to reinvent the heart of what we do — our figurative core — so we could place it at the true center of everything, and literally connect it everywhere it needed to be,” said President and CEO Robert Stone. “The Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center is the beating heart of our institution. It is a symbol of hope and renewal as we work together to deliver the next generation of cancer cures and care. On this 10th anniversary, we celebrate life, we celebrate hope, we give second chances and we never forget.”