HLA matching in the development of leading-edge allogeneic therapeutics and cellular therapies—and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT)—isn’t only about finding the best matches. But also avoiding mismatches that could result in less optimal patient outcomes.
By applying data and research findings to clinical decision-making and optimizing donor source selection, the cell therapy industry can work to improve event-free survival.
This upcoming webinar will explore research identifying HLA-B mismatches that are most optimal and which cause negative effects. In addition, attendees will learn about an automated HLA-B leader matching assessment tool that can be used to help avoid mismatching for HLA-B alleles associated with higher risks for future patients. While developed for HSCT, the learnings could be applied to other allogeneic cellular therapies.
Understanding donor HLA characteristics and their impact on the final therapy can ultimately improve allogeneic cell therapy outcomes.
Attendees will learn:
Martin Maiers is Vice President of Innovation at Be The Match where he has worked for 24 years. He leads an R&D translation program focused on applying new tools for HLA matching and algorithm development to improve cell and gene therapies. With his team he has developed a number of tools and methods for searching large donor registries with missing or partial information to identify suitable hematopoietic stem cell donors. He holds a degree in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin and a Master’s Degree in Computational Biology from the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Effie is an oncologist who studies how genetic factors influence the success of stem cell transplants. She pioneered molecular methods to compare differences between transplant donors and recipients in a key set of genes known as human leukocyte antigen, or HLA, genes. Mismatches in these genes, which play a central role in the immune response, raise the risk of graft-vs.-host disease, a potentially life-threatening complication in which newly transplanted cells attack the patient’s body.
Dr. Petersdorf has shown that precise and complete HLA typing, and matching of both donor and recipient, can make transplants safer. Transplants between imperfectly matched donors and recipients can also succeed, indicating that not all genetic differences have the same effects. Dr. Petersdorf spearheaded the formation of the International Histocompatibility Working Group, a worldwide collaboration among donor registries, transplant centers and HLA laboratories.
She also looks beyond HLA typing to find new genes that may influence transplant success. She recently identified two new sites where DNA mismatches are important: a mismatch at one location increases GVHD risk, while a mismatch at the other enhances patient survival. Plans to offer typing of these new sites to future Hutch patients and donors are underway.
Kimberly Wadsworth is a Senior Immunogenetic Specialist and Optimizing Transplant Success Strategic Initiative Business Lead at the National Marrow Donor Program. She has been in the Search Strategy department at the NMDP for the past 9.5 years. Within this department, her responsibilities include writing Search Strategy Advice reports, leading and participating in many different organizational and scientific projects, providing HLA expertise, and providing subject matter expert support to developing and improving MatchSource® and HapLogic™ (NMDP’s search application and search algorithm). She graduated with a PhD in the Molecular Biosciences with a focus on Molecular and Microbial Biology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia in 2009.
Ray Sajulga, Jr. enjoys combining his interests in biochemistry and software development as a bioinformatics scientist. He specializes in translating research into application by developing algorithms and interfaces used by transplant specialists to optimize donor selection and improve patient transplant outcomes. Ray graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2017 and started working at Be The Match in 2019.
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