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What are my chances of matching?

on Thursday, 30 January 2014.

HLA testing made easy

What happens when someone is looking for that perfect HLA match for a patient needing a bone marrow or stem cell transplant? What are my odds of matching?

First Doctors look at siblings because they stand the best chance of matching because they have the same Mother and Father and come from the same “blood pool” if you will.

If they do not find a match there then they go to the National Registries, International Registries and cord blood banks where there are over 22 million people worldwide already signed up to donate for an unrelated person in need.

If they do not find a match there then they go to people of the same ethnic background and extended family members because they normally come for the same ethnic background.

And if there is no match there then they go to the general public.

My way of determining “odds” is that if I know there are 22 million people out there that they have searched in the Registries and did not find a donor and I am one step removed as a cousin then that gives me an idea of what my odds are of matching. However there are some Doctors and Registries that look very closely at first and second cousins. I do not want to discourage you because we have found matches in first and second cousins. They were not full matches but they were good enough to do a transplant when no other donors were found. I also do not want to give you false hope.


Searching for a bone marrow donor with an uncommon ethnicity.

on Monday, 30 December 2013.

A Bone Marrow Donor Drive

I want to share a story about a man searching for an HLA matched donor for his wife. I changed the names of the story for anonymity but this is an authentic circumstance we often encounter in our field. Three weeks ago, Ben called Kashi Labs ( with questions about HLA testing. He had been recommended to us by his wife’s transplant coordinator. He began to tell me his wife, Mary, was diagnosed with leukemia and they were searching for a suitable match for her stem cell transplant. He hoped to locate a match while his wife was still in remission; the doctors gave Mary about 5 – 6 weeks before she would be out of remission. This made time a critical factor. Additionally, Mary has an uncommon ethnic background to the United States. When a query of the National Registry was made, no suitable matches were available to Mary (please know the National Registry is making outstanding efforts to recruit more donors of many ethnic backgrounds).


Simple definition of HLA testing

Written by Diane Tolley on Tuesday, 10 December 2013.

HLA testing

When we started our blog we at Kashi Clinical Labs decided that we needed to keep it simple. When our family went through my daughter’s transplant so many times someone would come in and say something and we had no idea what they meant. Because Kashi’s private HLA testing website deals specifically with HLA testing I thought we might start with, WHAT IS HLA TESTING?

I thought that I would just give you a “street level” non-clinical definition of HLA testing. HLA testing is a complex form of testing that doctors use to see if there is a compatible donor for a patient in need.

Human Leukocyte Antigens, HLA are protein molecules that we inherit from our parents. Thousands of different HLA molecules have been identified, and matching essential HLA types is critical to the potential success of a transplant.

The HLA "match" is the number of HLA molecules that any two people have in common. HLA matching is usually based on ten HLA molecules. The more molecules two people share, the better the match. That is, their immune systems are less likely to see each other as "foreign" and are therefore also less likely to attack each other.

The most likely place to find an HLA match between two people is among siblings (that is, a brother or sister who share the same parents). If siblings inherit the same HLA molecules from both parents as the patient, they are said to be an "HLA identical match."

There is a 25% or one in four chance of being an identical match with a sibling. If no sibling match is found, doctors will frequently ask additional blood-related family members to be tested. These are usually aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.

However, two unrelated people can also be a good HLA match. Although it is less likely, it is possible that you could have some of the same HLA molecules as a friend or someone you don't even know. If you and the patient share three HLA molecules, for example, then you are said to be a "three HLA antigen match.

In our next blog I will be talking about the “Search” process, followed by why it is important to have as close of HLA match as possible.


Diane's Intro to HLA Testing

Written by Diane Tolley on Wednesday, 13 November 2013.

My personal walk

Hi I am Diane Tolley. I am the Sales and Marketing Director for Kashi's HLA testing lab. I was thrust into the transplant world in 1988. My daughter Michelle was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and received a bone marrow transplant using her own marrow. We never found a perfect HLA test match for my daughter.

A child is not supposed to die before her parents, but cancer doesn't have a time table. I made a promise to Shelly after she died, if I could help in any way, no other person would have to walk the walk that our family walked alone. When I see Shelly again I will be able to say, "I couldn't help you but I helped as many people as I could". In honoring Shelly, I try to help other patients, donors, families, and transplant related businesses to better navigate the HLA testing system. This is how I have chosen to live without my daughter and to turn our personal loss and grief into something that is productive and touches those that need her help.


More than just an HLA testing lab...

Written by Diane Tolley on Wednesday, 13 November 2013.

Private HLA testing Lab

More than just an HLA testing lab...

Kashi Clinical Laboratories is more than just a HLA testing lab. To those that utilize our services the difference is outstanding. To those of us that work for Dr. Kashi the realization that this is so much more than a HLA test result is evident in the day to day workings of the lab itself and the results measured.

We are starting a new blog for those of you looking for a street level look at HLA testing to become a bone marrow donor. In the coming weeks we will walk you through the entire process. Let you know the "inside story" of HLA testing and what it means to you. At our HLA testing lab we decided we would start with an introduction to who is who and let you know why we do what we do and our qualifications.