Human leukocyte antigens (HLAs), which are proteins found on the surface of most human cells, are fundamental to the success of matching potentially life-saving donors with patients in need of a blood stem cell transplant. Immune cells use HLAs to protect one’s own cells from invading microbes and viruses. A properly functioning immune system will attack those cells that don’t match the body’s HLA profile.
But it wasn’t always known that HLA type was important to the success of bone marrow transplants. When the first transplants were conducted in the 1950s, the rate of success was low, because HLA type wasn’t a consideration. Outcomes improved dramatically once identification and matching of HLA type became part of the transplant process.
Will history repeat itself? Download our resource on why HLA matching matters below featuring an expert opinion from Martin Maiers, MS, Vice President of Biomedical Informatics, CIBMTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research®).