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If we discover an association between a disease and a particular HLA type (MHC class I or class II molecule) then it may provide us with some insight into the disease in a very basic way. However, will it provide us with a therapeutic target? Or second best, will it provide us with information that is useful for diagnosis or management? I am looking for examples. Do you know of any?

The most obvious is in transplantation where one would use HLA typing to match donor to recipient but that is not the same as using knowledge of an HLA type to target, treat, diagnose, prognosticate.

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3 Answers 3

I don't know any true disease associations, but since this question still has no answers, I'll offer one...

One class of associations you might be missing is difference in drug response. Patients with HLA-B*5701 are known to be hypersensitive to abacavir. Genetic screens are available to screen for this allele, and this information is used clinically.

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Bone marrow transplant for leukemia and multiple myeloma.

Uses extensive HLA typing like you said are you looking for additional diseases?

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That is just a matching process so that the graft does not attack the host. I am seeking an association between some form of a HLA which makes for a therapeutic target. –  Farrel Oct 16 at 3:58

Actually it can help by curing specific types of cancer e.g. Chimeric Antigen Receptor–Modified T Cells in Chronic Lymphoid Leukemia. But ofc. it does not help in every case. You can live without B-cells, but you cannot live without liver...

So yes it can be used by designing a therapy for a disease, if that's the question.

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