The Platelet Immunology Laboratory was established over 20 years ago to aid in the identification of compatible platelet donors for alloimmunized thrombocytopenic patients. Today, we continue to be a major reference laboratory which focuses on detecting platelet-specific antigens and antibodies under a variety of clinical conditions, thus improving the therapy available to patients with immunologically mediated platelet disorders.
The development of a Platelet Immunology Laboratory was a logical extension of research studies on platelet transfusion therapy that were initiated by Dr. Sherrill Slichter when she joined the Bloodworks Northwest in 1970. With the availability of platelets for transfusion and their rapidly increasing use, the development of alloimmune platelet refractoriness became a recognized consequence of repeated platelet transfusions in chronically thrombocytopenic patients. Initial immunologic studies were focused on the role of HLA antigens and antibodies in platelet transfusion therapy. Additionally, Dr. Terry Gernsheimer, Medical Director of the Platelet Immunology Laboratory, whose special interest and expertise in autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and has made significant contributions to understanding the pathophysiology and management of this disorder. More recently, substantial efforts have been focused on identifying the role of platelet-specific antigens and antibodies in platelet transfusion therapy as well as in other alloimmune-related thrombocytopenic disorders such as Post-Transfusion Purpura (PTP) and Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia (NATP).
The participation of the Platelet Immunology Laboratory in international workshops and other studies continues to aid in the successful achievement of our primary goal; to continually improve our ability to detect platelet-specific antigens and antibodies in a variety of clinical conditions, thus improving the therapy available to patients with immunologically mediated platelet disorders. For more information on the types and descriptions of the platelet immunology testing currently available, please refer to the Test Descriptions.
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