Computer program to predict likelihood of finding an HLA-matched donor: Methodology, validation, and application

Motomi Mori, Mike Graves, Edgar L. Milford, Patrick G. Beatty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Approximately 65% of the patients requiring bone marrow transplantation do not have an HLA-A, -B, -DR identical sibling and therefore need to find a phenotypically matched unrelated donor. As of June 30, 1996, the National Marrow Donor Program maintains a registry of 2.31 million volunteer donors, 35% of whom are fully typed for HLA-A, -B, -DR loci. Because a majority of the donors has not been DR typed, a patient who does not find a complete match at the time of the preliminary search may elect to prospectively DR type A, B matched and A, B one-antigen mismatched donors. An efficient strategy is therefore needed for determining the likelihood that an appropriate donor exists and for deciding which of the donors that have not yet been DR typed should be tested for DR matching with the candidate. We developed a mathematical algorithm and computer program to facilitate the search for a suitable donor by donor race and phenotype. The program provides information on the likelihood of 1) finding at least one HLA-A, -B, -DR phenotypically matched donor, 2) the likelihood of finding at least one DR match among m A, B matched donors who have not yet been DR typed, and 3) the likelihood of an A, B one antigen mismatched donor of a specific phenotype being a DR match with the patient. The mathematical models underlying the program are based on basic population genetics theory and utilize HLA-A, -B, -DR haplotype frequencies derived from the NMDP registry. The results of the validation study show that the prediction is highly accurate at the level of broad antigens. The algorithm and program have the potential to assist patients and physicians in optimizing their decisions regarding clinical management and resource allocation in the process of searching for a suitable unrelated bone marrow donor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-144
Number of pages11
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone marrow donor
  • HLA haplotype
  • Unrelated bone marrow transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation


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