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2017 Current Topics in Histocompatibility and Transplantation BROCHURE


2017 Schedule at a Glance




April 25, 2017 – Understanding Outcomes Studies – presented by Ruta Brazauskas, PhD,

Division of Biostatistics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Many clinical research studies use an end result or outcome of a treatment to evaluate efficacy. From this basic lecture participants will hear about key components of outcomes study design and will learn how to understand and interpret results from such studies.


May 9, 2017 – Taking Good Quality Processes and Making Them Great – presented by

Frederick Strathmann, PhD, DABCC (CC, TC), NMS Labs, Willow Grove, PA

Good quality practices are well known but may not be fully implemented when turnaround time, efficiency, and costs continue to exert their influence on laboratory decision making. From this lecture participants will learn alternative approaches to QC monitoring that can facilitate increased accuracy

and reduced error rates.


May 16, 2017 – Polyreactive Antibody – presented by Emmanuel Zorn, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY

Pre-existing serum antibodies have long been associated with graft loss in transplant recipients.

Although HLA antibodies are clearly important factors in transplant outcomes, the contribution of

non-HLA-reactive antibodies is often overlooked.  From this lecture participants will learn about natural polyreactive antibodies produced by innate B cells that have been shown to negatively impact long-term transplant outcome.


May 23, 2017 – Next Generation Luminex – presented by Lynn Kilheeney, MT, CHS, UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, Pittsburgh, PA and Paul Sikorski, MS, CHS, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Canoga Park, CA

The LABScan 3D is an advanced Luminex instrument with which 500 distinguishable bead sets can simultaneously be multiplexed in a single sample.  Participants will hear an overview of how the instrument works and will learn about kits available for HLA typing and antibody analysis.  They will also hear about assay performance as well as validation considerations from an experienced end user.


June 6, 2017 – Who Needs NGS: Combining Sanger SBT With Phasing Probes Results in Resolution of the Majority of HLA Variation – presented by Carolyn Hurley, PhD, D(ABHI),

CW Bill Young Marrow Donor Recruitment and Research Program at Georgetown University Medical Center,Washington, DC

This talk will provide an overview about a workflow strategy to pair Sanger-based DNA sequencing with oligonucleotide probe hybridization results in single genotype resolution at the G level for over 95% of the HLA class I loci without additional assays. Participants will hear how the resolution obtained with this approach compares with that obtained by NGS in typing both registry samples and donor-recipient pairs.


June 20, 2017 – Validation of HLA Typing by NGS – presented by Eric Weimer, PhD, D(ABMLI),

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC

The validation of HLA typing by next-generation sequencing is a laborious process.  Participants will

hear about the steps and considerations involved, as well as how to comply with the QC requirements and ASHI standards specific to NGS.


June 27, 2017 – Flow Crossmatch: When is Negative Not Really Negative and Positive Not Really Positive? – presented by Cathi Murphey Half, PhD, HCLD, Southwest Immunodiagnostics, Inc.

San Antonio, TX

Although the flow crossmatch is a key tool for histocompatibility laboratories to assess donor and recipient compatibility, its interpretation can sometimes be complicated.  Participants will learn how variables such as donor HLA expression levels or donor specific antibody to public epitopes like Bw4 or Bw6 can affect results.  They will also hear about the effects of interference from autoantibodies or therapeutic drugs on crossmatch results. 


July 18, 2017  The Application of NGS to HLA Typing: Challenges in Data Interpretation – presented by Marcelo Fernández-Viña, PhD, D(ABHI), Stanford University School of Medicine,

Stanford, CA

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is a power tool for interrogating DNA sequences; however, its use by clinical laboratories for HLA typing can present unique obstacles.  Participants will hear about how NGS manufacturers are dealing with the challenges and will learn how to understand NGS data and avoid pitfalls.


August 1, 2017 – Autoimmunity in Transplantation and its Clinical Relevance – presented by Marie-Josee Hebert, MD, FRCPC, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada

Autoantibodies present before transplantation are increasingly recognized as important determinants of rejection, function, and survival of solid organ transplants. Explanations for the presence of autoantibodies in de novo transplant patients in absence of classical auto-immune conditions are only beginning to be unraveled.  Participants will learn about mounting evidence that suggests expression of cryptic antigenic determinants and release of exosome-like apoptotic vesicles in association with vascular injury are important contributors to autoantibody formation before transplantation.


August 8, 2017 – Non-HLA Factors Considered for Donor Selection – presented by Bronwen Shaw, MD, PhD, Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

Survival after an allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant has improved over time.  A major part of this advancement is attributed to more precise HLA typing and appropriate donor selection, but other factors not related to HLA antigens have also contributed.  From this lecture participants will learn about factors not related to the HLA system that are important for donor selection such as stem cell source (peripheral blood vs. bone marrow), donor age, donor sex, and more.


August 15, 2017 – Back to the Future: HLA Matching to Improve Outcomes – presented by

Peter Nickerson, MD, FRCPC, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Patients lose their transplanted organs due to multiple complex interrelated factors including the degree of HLA mismatch and donor specific antibodies.  This talk will feature studies conducted over the years that are contributing to progress toward maximizing long-term transplant survival. 


August 29, 2017 – Web Tools for Donor Search – presented by Jason Dehn, MPH, National Marrow Donor Program, Minneapolis, MN

The search for a suitably HLA-matched stem cell donor is a complex process.  The current web tools to evaluate HLA type and donor compatibility are an invaluable source of information. From this basic talk, participants will learn how to use and understand the data generated by HaploStats, a tool provided by the NMDP Bioinformatics group for accessing frequency information for haplotypes and haplotype pairs.  They will also hear about other available web tools useful for donor search such as the IMGT DPB T-Cell Epitope Algorithm and KIR Ligand Calculator.


September 26, 2017 – Application of HLA Epitope-Based Matching in the Clinical Transplant Setting Part I: Antibody Reactivity with Epitopes – presented by Rene Duquesnoy, PhD,

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Molecular modeling and amino acid sequence comparisons of HLA alleles have permitted structural descriptions of epitopes reacting with HLA antibodies.  Participants will learn basic concepts about HLA epitopes and how they should be considered in the analysis of HLA antibody reactivity patterns. 


October 3, 2017 – Is NGS for Everyone? – presented by Lee Ann Baxter-Lowe, PhD, D(ABHI),
Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

A growing number of laboratories are adopting next-generation sequencing (NGS) as their main HLA typing method; however, especially for smaller laboratories, many elements need to be considered

when determining whether or not to change typing methods.  Participants will hear about factors that need to be weighed in making this decision.


October 10, 2017 – Finding the Best Match: Looking to the Epitopes – presented by Anat Tambur, DMB, PhD, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

Many patients receive transplants from donors who may be mostly HLA mismatched and post transplant, develop donor specific HLA antibody, along with antibody mediated graft rejection.  Participants will learn how an understanding of epitopes can facilitate the selection of donors with the least detrimental mismatches in an effort to improve outcomes.


October 17, 2017 – Application of HLA Epitope-Based Matching in the Clinical Transplant Setting Part II: Pre-Transplant Serum Analysis for Epitope-Specific Antibodies – presented by Rene Duquesnoy, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA


Epitope analysis of serum antibody reactivity in sensitized patients is useful for the identification of potential compatible donors. Through case examples, participants will learn how to use available analysis tools for recognizing epitope-specific antibodies.


October 24, 2017 – The Molecular Microscope – presented by Zahra Kashi, PhD, HCLD,

Kashi Clinical Laboratories, Portland, OR

Participants will learn how an understanding of the relationship between gene expression and clinical phenotypes in kidney transplant biopsy samples has led to the development of a system that enables diagnoses of specific disease states on the basis of messenger RNA levels in the biopsy sample. The talk will focus on advances in the molecular assessment of disease states in biopsy samples and how they have improved understanding of specific processes involved in kidney graft outcomes.


October 31, 2017 – HLA Amino Acid Polymorphisms and Kidney Allograft Outcomes 

presented by Malek Kamoun, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

This talk will cover studies aimed at understanding the effects of individual amino acid differences on delayed graft function (DGF).  Participants will learn about one study in particular that examined the effect of individual amino acid mismatches on organ alloreactivity and graft survival.


November 7, 2017 – Post-Transplant Monitoring: It’s More Than Just DSA – presented by Alexander Gilbert, MD, Transplant Nephrologist, Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program, MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute, Washington, DC

From this basic lecture, participants will learn how donor specific antibody (DSA) testing fits into the big picture of post-transplant patient care.  They will hear about the clinical factors considered for DSA risk assessment, testing frequency, and treatment decisions.


November 14, 2017 – What’s Wrong With This Picture? Technical and Instrumental Troubleshooting Tips – presented by Robert Liwski, MD, PhD, HLA Typing Laboratory,

Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA

Participants will learn how to recognize and troubleshoot problematic flow cytometer and Luminex results.  They will also learn how to spot potential technical problems including incorrect instrument settings, insufficient washes, or suboptimal dilution of principle reagents.










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