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Immunobiology Research

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The Immunobiology Research Program facilitates CIBMTR Immunobiology Working Committee studies that use samples from the CIBMTR Biorepository (cell and serum samples collected by NMDP from related and unrelated transplant donors, cord blood units, and recipients). The Immunobiology Working Committee seeks proposals for studies that are highly translational and hypothesis-driven. Such studies usually seek to define the clinical importance of the immune system using HCT and other cellular therapies as the model system.

Research Focus Areas

This program facilitates collaborative studies that focus on:

  • Improving outcomes after HCT and other cellular therapies through a better understanding of the immune response pathways
  • Increasing the availability of unrelated donor HCT through a better understanding of donor and recipient genetic determinants
  • Understanding the role of HLA-matched or mismatched related and unrelated donor HCT compared to other available graft sources

Specific research supported includes:

  • Genes and gene products of the major histocompatibility complex
  • Natural killer cell repertoire
  • Cytokine / pro-inflammatory cytokine and immune response determinants
  • Minor histocompatibility loci
  • Other immune regulatory genes and products (such as anti-HLA antibodies)
  • Comparative studies that involve HLA-mismatched related donors or any unrelated donors

Key Activities

Observational Studies

Immunobiology-focused research is conducted utilizing samples from the CIBMTR Biorepository and derived and associated data. Many collaborative studies are facilitated through the Immunobiology Working Committee.

NMDP Research Activities

The Donor / Recipient Pair Project is a retrospective typing project to characterize class I (HLA-A, B, and C) and class II (HLA-DRB, DQB1, and DPB1) alleles and KIR genotypes of stored HCT / cellular therapy donor / recipient paired samples from the CIBMTR Biorepository. To date, more than 32,000 paired samples have been characterized for HLA (~80% include DPB1) and more than 18,000 for KIR. The resultant data are stored in an NMDP-developed database and available to any researcher with a CIBMTR-approved study that wishes to analyze the impact of HLA matching or KIR genotype as either the focus of, or as a variable in, a research study. Allele-level data are also used to assess genetic diversity within the NMDP transplant population and have focused on the evaluation of HLA haplotypes within the donor and recipient data set.