The Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) system is a group of genes which have an important function in the human immune system. The HLA region is highly polymorphic and contains six classical HLA genes: class I HLA-A, -B and –C, and class II HLA-DRB1, -DQB1 and –DPB1. Furthermore, the HLA region is known to be associated with more than 100 multifactorial, complex diseases mainly of inflammatory and autoimmune pathogenesis. In order to find out more about the functions and complex interactions of the HLA system, next-generation sequencing (NGS) based HLA typing can be very helpful.
NGS can for example support characterisation of individual response to drug therapy including pharmacogenetics, HLA-matching of donor-recipient pairs for transplantation, or deliver important information for immunotherapy to fight cancer. A huge advantage of NGS in HLA research is the possibility of fast and precise identification of HLA alleles.