UM Transplant Laboratories Among First in U.S. to Offer NGS High-Resolution HLA Typing

The DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery Transplant Laboratories (Immune Monitoring Lab and Histocompatibility Lab) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have been awarded accreditation by the American Society of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) to perform next-generation sequencing (NGS) on the Ion Torrent S5 platform for high-resolution molecular typing of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) Class I and Class II loci.

“NGS high-resolution sequencing of the HLA genome is an exciting technology that provides a new method of obtaining accurate, fast and affordable high-resolution HLA typing for hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) and solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients and donors,” said Phillip Ruiz, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology and surgery, and Medical Director of the Transplant Laboratories. “It is revolutionizing the Clinical HLA Lab, as well as the entire Clinical Lab. Our team — especially Dr. Emilio Margolles-Clark, Dr. Ana Hernandez and Dania Mateu — has been working on this technology for some time, and we are very glad that ASHI recognizes our validation process so that we can be one of the first labs in the U.S. to offer this for our transplant patients.”

With this new means of getting allele-level HLA typing, the lab can now identify which parts of HLA molecules are being recognized by preexisting or de novo alloantibodies and/or effector immune cell populations — an issue critical in SOT patients who are going to be ultimately considered for targeted immunosuppression. In addition, allele ambiguities — an issue significant for HSCT patients — are now of minimal concern, allowing much more precise matching of donors and recipients. The lab is also capable of sequencing introns and other exons beyond the standard areas of the HLA genome addressed by the much more laborious Sanger sequencing methodology. This allows not only rapid identification of new HLA alleles, but also discovery of the areas of the molecules that preferentially augment or reduce graft recognition and survival.

“NGS HLA typing plainly will allow a much greater understanding of the immunogenicity and regulation by this critical gene complex in human transplantation.”

The Immune Monitoring Laboratory is able provide this service with a turnaround time of 7 to 10 days for all patients. For shipping and specimen requirements, costs or other information, contact the lab at 305-243-5336.

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