Registries and cord blood banks around the world collect and store the HLA types of volunteers in order to identify matched unrelated donors for patients requiring hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. This task is complicated by the many formats in which HLA types are provided by the testing laboratories (types obtained by serology vs by DNA-based methods; high vs intermediate vs low resolution) and by the need to identify which of these diverse types are most likely to match the HLA assignments of a searching patient as closely as possible. Conversion of the assignments to 'search determinants' may be included within the algorithm used to select and prioritize a list of potentially suitable donors, either as an aid to matching or as a tool to optimize the performance of comparisons within large data files. The strategies used by registries to create search determinants are described. A set of search determinants, utilized by the National Marrow Donor Program, is provided as an example and is intended to initiate further discussion aimed at understanding the process used by each registry with the possibility of developing a standard process among registries worldwide.
- Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
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