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454 Sequencing at the Forefront of Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Therapy Research

Roche Genome Sequencer FLX System creates new opportunities for HLA research at the Blood Centre Linz, Austria

(PresseBox) (Mannheim, ) The Blood Centre Linz, Austria has purchased a Genome Sequencer FLX System from Roche, for use in research on rejection reactions in Bone Marrow and Stem Cell transplantation. Using conventional Sanger sequencing it can take weeks to analyse large DNA regions. The Genome Sequencer FLX System can achieve this task within hours, improving efficiency and reducing costs. The ultimate goal of the research undertaken with the Genome Sequencer System is to create a significant reduction in the high rate of rejection reactions in transplantation.

Typically, the odds of finding a suitable stem cell donor is 1 in 500,000. Every year in the German speaking countries, approximately 12,000 people require urgent transplantations. The success of these transplantations is largely dependent on an exact tissue matching based upon HLA typing. The human leukocyte antigen system (HLA) is a major component of the immune system in humans and is fairly unique from person to person. In transplantation, any cell displaying an HLA type other than the patient's is "non-self" and is attacked by the immune system as an invader, resulting in the rejection of the tissue bearing those cells. Because of the importance of HLA in transplantation it is subject to extensive research, the HLA loci are among of the most frequently typed by serology or PCR relative to any other autosomal alleles.

With the Genome Sequencer from Roche Diagnostics, the researchers at the Blood Centre Linz will concentrate on making the HLA typing application significantly quicker and more efficient in order to ensure a significant decrease in graft rejection by a better matching recipients to donors.

"The continuous decoding of genetic characteristics offers unprecedented insights and opportunities in the area of medical research. There is enormous potential in the area of bone marrow and stem cell therapy, which is especially applied in the case of various forms of leukaemia," declares the medical director of the Blood Centre Linz, Christian Gabriel. Werner Watzinger, Administrative Director of the Blood Centre Linz, added: "The purchasing costs of the Genome Sequencer FLX System were covered with the help of government aid money. We are very proud to be the first non-university institution in Austria which operates such a system."

"454 Sequencing has quickly been adopted worldwide for a broad spectrum of applications because of its high quality result s and its improved efficiency over other technologies. The amplicon sequencing application is a sensitive method for detecting genetic variation, including SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), insertions, and deletions, in target genomic regions. The accurate detection of genetic variation can be combined with phenotypic information which is especially relevant for medical research," underlines Dr. Manfred Baier, Head of Roche Applied Science.

"The usage of the 454 Sequencing system is a milestone in DNA analysis. Institutions like the Blood Centre Linz can carry out their research projects far more efficiently and advance at a faster rate. We see a great opportunity to improve the scientific basics of transplantation medicine and we are looking forward to having the honour of supporting a team of experts in this field here in Austria," adds Andrijka Kashan, General Manager of Roche Diagnostics Austria.