Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing is a DNA-based tissue test used to match patients and donors for bone marrow transplants. HLA are proteins — or markers — found on most cells in your body. Your immune system uses these markers to recognize which cells belong in your body and which do not. The closer the match the better the chances the patient’s body will accept the donated cells and allow them to grow and make new healthy cells.
• You inherit half of your HLA markers from your mother and half from your father. This means you and your sibling have a 25% chance of having exactly the same HLA characteristics.
• This also means that most patients – about 7 out of 10 -- are unable to have a donation from a sibling, and an unrelated donor is required. This donor should ideally be a perfect HLA match.
• The more people who register, the better the chances for patients who are waiting for their lifesaving match.