The International Rare Donor Panel 


Staff and Contact Information


  Bristol Institute for Transfusion Sciences

BITS is a major part of NHSBT Research activity, contributing to programmes of research in:

- Better and Safer use of Blood, Stem Cells, Tissues and Organs
- Development of Cellular and Tissue
- TherapiesImmunohaematology and Immunogenetics of Transfusion and Transplantation.

Who We Are

The Bristol Institute for Transfusion Sciences (BITS) and International Blood Group Reference Laboratories (IBGRL) are NHS Blood and Transplant Laboratories Sited in Bristol, England. 

The BITS was established in 1996 to bring together research and teaching at IBGRL, the Bristol Blood Centre and the University of Bristol. Today, there are three programs of research; cellular therapies, antibody therapies and blood safety. A Clinical Biotechnology Centre was completed in January 1999. This facility is designed expedite clinical trials by producing, under GMP conditions, novel therapeutic agents such as monoclonal antibodies  or vectors for gene therapy.

The IBGRL was established in 1946 to provide Reference Services related to blood transfusion. In 1952, the IBGRL was designated a collaborating centre for the World Health Organisation. One of IBGRL’s functions is to maintain a database of donors with rare blood types. Authorized laboratories can interrogate the International Rare Donor Panel directly via this web site. The IBGRL has a distinguished record of research in blood transfusion science. Some of this research has led to the generation of a range of monoclonal antibodies which are available to researchers around the world as IBGRL Research Products.

IBGRL Diagnostic Development

This work is centred on developing our knowledge of the production and function of recombinant antibody and antigen molecules of interest to NHSBT. We use molecular biology, biochemical and cell culture techniques to develop reagents based on antibody and antigen molecules for diagnostic, research and therapeutic use in blood transfusion practice.

IBGRL Reference Services

One of the IBGRL’s primary roles is to provide specialist clinical diagnostic services for NHS Blood and Transplant. The IBGRL provides those services whose quality and cost-effectiveness are maximised by provision from a single Centre which has expert staff and has available a collection of very rare reagents and uses sophisticated techniques to resolve difficult problems in relatively small numbers of patients.
The major areas of diagnostic expertise are in red cell reference, blood group genotyping and red cell membrane biochemistry.
IBGRL was accredited by CPA in March 2013.

IBGRL Research Products

Since April 1991, the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory (IBGRL) has had a range of monoclonal antibodies for immunohaematological research marketed under the name "IBGRL Research Products". The antibodies cover a range of specificities of interest to researchers in the fields of immunology, haematology, cell biology and biochemistry. The introduction of these products marked a divergence from the laboratory's original role of supplying reagents solely for blood group serology. 

Clinical Biotechnology Centre

The CBC is the first publicly-funded MHRA accredited facility for the manufacture of recombinant proteins and gene therapy investigational medicinal products for clinical trials.