Next generation sequencing

After significant investment, development and validation, NHS Blood and Transplant have introduced full-length allelic level HLA typing of adult bone marrow donors and cord blood units by Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).

This development has enabled the British Bone Marrow Registry (BBMR) to be the first registry in the UK, and one of the first in the world, to list donors with a full length HLA sequence performed by NGS.

Benefits of HLA typing by NGS

NGS platforms combine technological advances with innovative chemistry to resolve unequivocally any ambiguity at the allele level.  HLA matching at allelic resolution is proven clinically significance in Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT), lowering the risk of graft-versus-host disease and mortality by identifying the best matched donor for the patient.  In addition, sequencing donors at the allelic level using NGS removes the need for extended typing which can still be problematic and delays the provision of donor and therefore transplant by weeks.

The listing of allelic-level typed donors on the BBMR realises a number of benefits to both patients and transplant units:

  • Reduced search and selection times, leading to a shorter time to transplant
  • Reduction in additional testing of multiple donors and a corresponding reduction in costs to Transplant Units
  • Improved outcomes for patients transplanted with matched unrelated donors

For more information on HLA typing by NGS please download our brochure (PDF 520KB).