Bone Marrow / Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)

LabCorp is a leading provider of histocompatibility (human leukocyte antigen, or HLA) testing for bone marrow, other transplant-related services, and disease association testing.

LabCorp performs testing for either HLA class I or class II using highly robust molecular methods. LabCorp’s HLA testing is accredited by several agencies, including the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) and the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

LabCorp is a contract lab for the National Marrow Donor Program. For more information about the National Marrow Donor Program and becoming a bone marrow donor, go to

Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) testing is performed when trying to find a suitable organ, tissue (bone marrow), or cord blood donor for transplantation.

The results of either HLA class I or class II typing can be used for bone marrow transplant donor screening. This screening is coordinated with various agencies that conduct drives to assist people in need of a bone marrow transplant. LabCorp also performs post-transplant engraftment monitoring, which involves testing samples for donor and recipient markers.

You may request a collection kit or contact bone marrow customer service at 800-533-1037, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern time.

Additional LabCorp Specialty Testing
ViroMed Laboratories, a LabCorp specialty lab, has a national reputation for expertise in providing comprehensive laboratory services to meet the unique testing needs of the bone marrow industry.

ViroMed’s CAP-accredited, CLIA-certified laboratory is FDA-registered for screening human cells, tissues, and cellular- and tissue-based products (HCT/Ps). ViroMed performs donor testing 7 days a week on multiple shifts, and provides customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

ViroMed incorporates quality assurance measures to monitor laboratory quality and customer satisfaction. 

LabCorp's transplant testing service offers:

  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)* methodology used for class I and class II alleles
  • Double-blind testing performed routinely for class I and class II alleles
  • Results reported in 7 to 10 days from receipt of specimen
  • STAT testing (results within 24 to 48 hours) available upon request
  • Specimens accepted 7 days a week
  • Diverse specimen types, including buccal swabs, accepted

LabCorp offers multiple DNA-based methodologies for HLA typing:

  • Testing of DNA sequences permits HLA typing at high resolution (intermediate resolution is also available at a lower price).
  • DNA typing does not require live blood cells from the patient, permitting more flexible sample requirements. Therefore, LabCorp can perform DNA-based HLA typing on buccal swabs, liquid blood, frozen blood, dried blood stains, bone marrow, cultured cells, sorted cells, or any tissue containing intact DNA.

LabCorp utilizes a combination of powerful technologies to analyze DNA sequences at HLA class I and class II loci:

  • The informative regions of the DNA are replicated using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR amplification provides a large amount of DNA that is analyzed with a battery of DNA probes. LabCorp uses more than 100 probes to analyze the DNA coding for the HLA-A and HLA-B loci.
  • A variety of additional procedures are available to obtain the resolution required by each client. These include sequence-specific primers (SSP), sequence-based typing (SBT), sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes (SSOP, Luminex, and sample array), and group-specific primers.

LabCorp's software requires double-blind data entry by two independent technologists with a final review by a third technologist. When any new, undescribed antigens are present, the program can help determine which known antigens are most similar to the type seen in the sample.

Loci are available at various levels of resolution, including:

  • Class I: HLA-A, -B, and -C
  • Class II: DRB, DQB, DQA, and DPB

High-resolution typing implements additional PCR reactions along with a larger panel of DNA probes to define the antigens present at the allele level. These methods are similar to those employed for class I HLA typing in which PCR is used to amplify the DNA of interest (DRB, DQB, DQA, or DPB gene sequences), and probes determine which sequences are present in the amplified DNA. SSP, SBT, and Luminex methodologies are available.

*Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is performed pursuant to an agreement with Roche Molecular Systems, Inc.

Benefits of LabCorp's transplant engraftment monitoring services include:

  • PCR / short tandem repeat (STR) methodology
  • Turnaround time is generally 5 to 7 days after receipt of specimen
  • Quantitative results reported

This test monitors the success of a bone marrow/stem cell transplant. The relative percentage of recipient and donor cells in post-transplant specimens is assessed.

Bone marrow engraftment monitoring is based on detection and comparison of STR DNA regions in the recipient and donor after transplantation.

Currently, LabCorp has 14 STR systems available for detecting genetic differences between recipient and donor. This test battery is useful in virtually all donor/recipient pairs except identical twins. The methodology is based on the PCR. The LabCorp procedures generally provide 3- to 7-day turnaround time and a higher sensitivity than other DNA tests historically used for engraftment monitoring.

Our PhD-level scientists are available to answer technical questions. For additional information, please call bone marrow customer service at 800-533-1037.

Healthcare providers often order HLA testing to aid in the diagnosis of a disease.

A disease association arises when an HLA type is more commonly seen in patients with a specific disease than in healthy patients. For example, the HLA allele B27 has a disease association with ankylosing spondylitis and certain forms of arthritis. Other disease associations commonly tested at LabCorp are the HLA disease associations for narcolepsy and celiac disease.

Since HLA is a key component of the immune system, it is becoming recognized that HLA types can affect drug sensitivity, vaccine effectiveness, and resistance to certain viruses. HLA typing is becoming an important aspect of personalized medicine.

LabCorp offers a number of specialized profiles to help with disease association:

  • Celiac Disease Profile-HLA Linkage Disequilibrium: DQA/DQB (DQ2 and DQ8)
  • B27 Profile: Testing reports for positive or negative
  • HLA-B*5701 - Abacavir hypersensitivity: Testing reports for positive or negative (View the HLA-B*5701 Technical Review)
  • HLA-B*1502 - Carbamazepine hypersensitivity: Testing reports for positive or negative
  • Narcolepsy Profile (DRB1*15 and DQB1*0602): Testing reports for positive or negative
  • HLA A, B, and C Disease Association: Testing reports for antigens present at A, B, and C loci
  • DR Disease Association: Testing reports for antigens present at DRB1, DRB3, DRB4 and DRB5; also available: DQB1, DQA1, and DPB1

Additional LabCorp Specialty Testing
LabCorp, though its specialty laboratory ViroMed Laboratories, offers a comprehensive infectious disease test portfolio for the detection and confirmation of relevant communicable diseases. ViroMed has more than 15 years of experience in regulated testing with a knowledgeable staff and a dedicated quality assurance program.

More than 20 years of HLA testing experience
More than 2 million individuals typed for HLA class I and HLA class II antigens
Board-certified PhD scientists assist with the interpretation of results and recommend follow-up testing, as needed
Highly qualified laboratory technicians dedicated to all aspects of HLA testing
Quality and Reliability
Advanced polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technologies permit superior resolution of class I and class II alleles
Extensive quality control protocols that exceed industry standards
Transplant-level testing performed using double-blind procedures
American Society of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) accreditation

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