The HLA Informatics Group, led by Professor Steven GE Marsh, BSc PhD ARCS FRCPath, Anthony Nolan’s Bioinformatics Director and Deputy Director of Research, has four main areas of interest:
The HLA Informatics Group designed and now maintains a number of internationally recognised locus specific databases. These include:
HSCT donor/patient project
For the past 18 years, the Anthony Nolan Research Institute has coordinated a study to investigate the effects of matching or mismatching a number of different genetic markers on the outcome of haematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) using unrelated donors.
This study involves 37 transplant centres throughout the UK. Over this period we have recruited well over 2,100 volunteer donors and their respective recipients.
We are using the material made available by this project in several studies that have significantly furthered our understanding of the effects of matching HLA at high resolution and in particular the role of the HLA-DPB1 gene.
In addition, we are now beginning to investigate the role of genes other than HLA on transplant outcome, as we believe they may contribute significantly, when taken into consideration with HLA typing.
We are undertaking two projects at this time. The first is trying to establish the effects of NOD2/CARD15 gene polymorphisms on the outcome of unrelated donor HSCTs, while the second is investigating the role of KIR genes.
HLA diversity analysis of the UK population
Anthony Nolan maintains a register of more than 494,000 potential bone marrow donors, each of whom have been typed for some of their HLA genes. This data set represents an ideal source of information for studying the HLA genetic diversity in different UK ethnic groups.
We are undertaking a project to characterise the geographical HLA genetic diversity of the UK population using donors of North European origin. The results of this project aim to improve our recruitment strategies, by identifying regions with higher diversity. This will contribute to creating a more diverse register, and so increase the chances of a patient finding a compatible donor.
Additionally, we are participants in the 15th International Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Workshop, Registry Diversity Group. This is an international working group aiming to establish the standards for the analysis of genetic data from bone marrow registers or similar sources.
The HLA FactsBook
This book, written by Steven Marsh, Peter Parham and Linda Barber, presents up-to-date and comprehensive information on the HLA genes. It’s accessible to beginners and experts alike. The book’s focus is the polymorphic HLA genes (HLA-A, B, C, DP, DQ and DR) that are typed in clinical HLA laboratories.
Each gene has a dedicated section in which individual entries describe the structure, functions and population distribution of groups of related allotypes. Fourteen introductory chapters provide a beginners' guide to the basic structure, function, and genetics of the HLA genes, as well as to the nomenclature and methods used for HLA typing.
You can find more information on the HLA FactsBook on the Elsevier site.
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Please contact us by email if you have further enquiries, our team is here to help.
If you have further enquiries, our team is here to help.