Histocompatibility laboratory (HLA)
The Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory is the reference centre for the hospitals of the Catalan Health Institute (ICS, from its Catalan initials) in HLA typing and in the evaluation of compatibility between donor and recipient in the context of Haematopoietic Progenitor Transplantation (HPT).
Our laboratory is the Reference Centre for the Spanish Bone Marrow Donor Registry (REDMO, from its Spanish initials) in Catalonia and for the Umbilical Cord Bank of Barcelona because it carries out all the HLA studies required for the registration of new donors and for the registration and verification of umbilical cord units, respectively.
The laboratory carries out healthcare, teaching and research tasks.
At the care level:
- The Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics laboratory provides support to all the transplant units of the ICS hospitals and to the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) in HLA typing studies (high or low resolution) to find the best donor (related or unrelated) for any patient who needs an HPT.
- Anti-HLA antibodies are studied in the context of transplantation with the aim of detecting the presence of Specific Donor Antibodies (DSA) that may cause primary graft failure with non-identical HLA donors. The monitoring of these antibodies is important for the assessment of the effectiveness of desensitisation protocols applied to patients with ASD.
- NK alloreactivity (detailed analysis of KIR genotypes and their ligands) studies are performed among patients and non-identical HLA donors to ensure the choice of the best donor.
- BDP1 permissibility analysis studies are carried out between donor and recipient if required.
- There is a participation in the selection of cord units based on the PIRCHE (Predicted Indirectly ReCognizable HLA Epitopes) analysis.
- Non-classical HLA genes (HLA-E,- G) are studied by means of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).
- KIR genotypes and C groups (C1 and C2) are determined to assess implant failures in the context of human infertility.
- Studies of HLAs associated with disease (narcolepsy, hypersensitivity to drugs, Behçet's disease, birdshot retinopathy, etc.) are carried out.
At a teaching level:
- The Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics laboratory is involved in the teaching of medical/non-medical resident interns (Resident Intern Physicians, Resident Intern Biologists, Resident Intern Pharmacists) in the speciality of Immunology as well as resident interns in Haematology and Haemotherapy, laboratory technicians, etc.
- We carry out undergraduate and postgraduate teaching activities in collaboration with the public universities of Catalonia.
- We receive health professionals for training stays through collaboration agreements, mainly from Latin American countries.
- We develop an internal training programme to update the knowledge of our own laboratory staff.
At the research level:
- The Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics laboratory has been committed for years to technological development and innovation. It is currently a leader in the sector due to the application of NGS techniques (laboratory-developed) for the typing of HLA, KIR and other genes of interest. We are moving towards Third Generation Sequencing (TGS) with an ongoing project for its development and implementation.
- We mentor research work (TFG, Final Year Dissertation; TFM, Master's Thesis, from their Catalan initials) and supervise doctoral theses according to our lines of research.
- We cooperate with hospital transplant and research units on clinical or basic research projects.