Price Increase for Genotyping service and for Research Products.

Small increases in prices for 2011-12 in molecular diagnostics for fetal genotyping, patient testing and sex determination have been made. click here

A small increase in price has been applied to FMH kits, culture supernatant, purified and conjugated antibodies in the Research Products range. click here

There is no price increase for diagnostic services in membrane biochemistry.

These prices apply from 1st April 2011.

CBC develops new manufacturing process.

The Clinical Biotechnology Centre has developed a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant process for the conjugation of a monoclonal antibody (anti-CD66).

The CBC was approached in 2009 by Dr Kim Orchard from Southampton University Hospitals Trust to manufacture a conjugated monoclonal antibody for use as a "magic bullet" targeting cancer cells. The radiolabelled antibody had been used in Phase I trials as part of the preparative regimen prior to haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In order to facilitate radiolabelling a chemical modification of the native antibody had to be performed. The results of the Phase I trial were encouraging and larger trials were planned.

However, in order to meet the requirements of the EU Clinical Trials Directive, a GMP-compliant process to prepare the modified antibody had to be devised.

With Dr Orchard and his team, the CBC staff developed a small scale GMP compliant process that has been used to manufactured two clinical trial grade batches of a conjugated anti-CD66 monoclonal antibody. The antibody is radiolabelled at Southampton and at three other sites in the UK for use in a Phase 2 clinical trial of targeted radiotherapy, prior to autologous stem cell transplantation, as a treatment for multiple myeloma.

The first patient has just been imaged with the indium 111-labelled antibody and the biodistribution of label shows that it works extremely well.

Another trial using the same radiolabelled antibody prior to allogeneic transplantation is now able to continue.

The GMP-grade conjugated anti-CD66 will be used in paediatric transplantation at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

The CBC is an MHRA licensed facility for the manufacture of novel recombinant proteins and gene therapy products for clinical trials.

March 2011

BITS Scientists receive awards at BBTS 2010

At the British Blood Transfusion Society annual scientific meeting in Bournemouth in September 2010, two BITS scientists received awards recognising their contributions to transfusion science.

Dr Lesley Bruce received the Kenneth Goldsmith award for her work over the years on the structure and function of the red cell membrane, particularly the molecules involved in ion transport.  The Kenneth Goldsmith award is given for original research within the field of blood transfusion together with contributions to blood transfusion in general, either in the medical or scientific fields.

Dr Nick Burton received the Race and Sanger award for his work on the molecular basis of blood group antigens. The Kenneth Goldsmith award is for young scientists involved in research and development and making an outstanding Medical or Scientific contribution to Transfusion Medicine or Science.

CBC achieves successful MHRA Inspection

Since the adoption of the Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC into British law in 2004, the manufacture of investigational medicinal products for human clinical trials must be performed in authorised licensed facilities. The CBC has held a Manufacturer's Authorisation for the manufacture of Investigational Medicinal Products since 2004 and in March 2010 has undergone a successful re-inspection by its regulator the MHRA. The three day inspection involves the assessment of compliance by the regulator against the current principles and guidelines of Good Manufacturing Practice and in particular Annex 13 of the MHRA Rules and Guidance for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Distributors. The CBC is due another routine inspection in September 2012.

CPA renews IBGRL Accreditation

After a thorough inspection of IBGRL Reference Services (Red Cell Reference, Blood Group Genotyping and Membrane Biochemistry) by the Clinical Pathology Accreditation (CPA) team the accredited status of IBGRL was renewed for a further four years.

(October 2009)

Wellcome Trust funds research to cultivate red blood cells

BITS is part of a collaboration between NHS Blood and Transplant, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS), the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS), the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, and Roslin Cells, led by Professor Marc Turner - Director of SNBTS. An award of £3 million has been made by the Wellcome Trust to fund the research. Building on existing technology, the research team will turn stem cells into red blood cells and ensure that the resulting cells are safe to use in patients.

(Link to Wellcome Trust Press Release) 
(May 2009)

Mapping the changes in cellular proteins during erythropoiesis

During erythropoiesis, the development of red cells in the bone marrow, genes are turned on and off at different times and this leads to changes in the proteins expressed as the cells mature. The profile of proteins expressed at a particular time is known as the proteome. In a study published in Blood, the proteome of erythroid cells differentiating in culture was measured at different time points. 2-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) were the techniques used. 154 proteins were seen to change as the cells matured, and 21 of these were identified as particular proteins. 

Analysis of the differential proteome of human erythroblasts during in vitro erythropoiesis by 2-D DIGE. Richardson et al, Proteomics - Clinical Applications 3: 1123-1134, 2009. 

(April 2009)

Clues to the mechanism of relapse in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Optimization of therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) requires a greater understanding of the cells that proliferate to maintain this malignancy, since a significant number of cases relapse due to failure to eradicate the disease. ALL stem cells may be resistant to therapy and subsequent relapses may arise from these cells. In a paper published in Blood, Allison Blair's group have investigated expression of CD133, CD19 and CD38 in paediatric B-ALL. CD133+/CD19- ALL cells were found to be more resistant to treatment with dexamethasone and vincristine, key components in childhood ALL therapy, than the bulk leukemia population. These data suggest that leukemia initiating cells in childhood B-ALL have a primitive CD133+/CD19- and CD38- phenotype and these cells may be a treatment-resistant pool giving rise to a relapse of the disease.

Expression of CD133 on leukemia initiating cells in childhood ALL. Cox et al, Blood 113, 3287-3296, 2009

(April 2009)

BITS Scientist Kirstin Finning receives the Department of Health Chief Scientific Officer's Award for Research and Development.

The Award was made to Kirstin to recognise her work on fetal genotyping, developing a test to determine the RhD blood group of a fetus by testing the mother's blood. The Award was presented at a ceremony at the Chief Scientific Officers Conference in November.

(February 2009)

Further Important Announcement

All BITS and IBGRL labs and offices have moved from Southmead to Filton.

Samples MUST now be sent to Sample Reception at Filton. 

The address for samples to be sent to Filton is:


North Bristol Park


Bristol BS34 7QG



Telephone and FAX numbers:

Office (general enquiries) Phone: +44 (0) 117 921 7500
                                                 FAX: +44 (0) 117 912 5796

Red Cell Reference             Phone: +44 (0) 117 921 7587

                                                  FAX: +44 (0) 117 912 5782

Genotyping                           Phone: +44 (0) 117 921 7572

                                                  FAX: +44 (0) 117 912 5782

Membrane biochemistry    Phone: +44 (0) 117 921 7601

                                                  FAX: +44 (0) 117 912 5782

(Posted 5th December 2008)

Dr Vanja Karamatic Crew has been awarded the prestigious Race and Sanger Award from the British Blood Transfusion Society. 

The Award perpetuates the names of Robert Race and Ruth Sanger, who contributed immeasurably to the study of blood groups. The citation for the Award states that the recipient will be under 40 years of age and will have involvement in research and development and be making an outstanding medical or scientific contribution to transfusion medicine and science.

Dr Crew received her first degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Zagreb, Croatia, then studied for a PhD in population genetics awarded by the University of Reading. She began researching into the molecular basis of human blood groups at BITS in 2000. Her principal role has been the investigation into the molecular basis of the blood group antigens in which the genetic background is unknown, including rare, new and null phenotypes. These have included Lutheran, Kell, Cromer, Ok, RAPH (CD151), Tn and Xg blood group antigens, and the CD82 tetraspanin polymorphisms.

She has presented her work at national and international meetings every year since 2002; however, it was the work that made the connection between the MER2 antigen (RAPH blood group) with the gene for the tetraspanin CD151, including links to cellular basolateral membrane arrangement and clinical implications such as renal failure that achieved the accolade of a plenary session at the American Society for Hematology meeting in 2003. Her research and that of her co-workers provides evidence that fundamental research into the molecular genetics of blood groups can provide further insight into blood group antigen development and their relationships and functions during erythropoiesis.

Posted April 2008

BITS featured on BBC News website.

The BBC News website has featured the diagnostic test offered by IBGRL to determine the Rh blood group of a fetus by testing its mother's blood. 

The article is a report of a paper published in the British Medical Journal, and says that "A test for spotting a mismatch between the blood of a pregnant woman and her baby could prevent thousands from undergoing unnecessary treatment."

Posted April 2008

Information about the ISBT / ICSH 2008 Molecular Blood Group Genotyping Workshop is available on this website.

(Posted January 2008)

Paper by Mankelow et al featured on the front cover of Blood 

Crystals of the 2 N-terminal immunoglobulin domains of the erythrocyte Lutheran glycoprotein play happily in their crystalization drop. 


The Lutheran Blood group glycoprotein (Lu gp) although first discovered on erythrocytes is widely expressed in human tissues. Lu gp is a ligand for the alpha 5 subunit of the extracellular matrix proteins Laminin 511 and Laminin 521 and in patients suffering from sickle cell disease this interaction may contribute to vaso-occlusive events that are a major cause of morbidity in this disorder. Using a multi-discipline approach this paper describes the overall structure of the 5 IgG domains that comprise Lu gp revealing it to have an extended structure with a distinctive bend between the second and third domain. The link between domains 2 and 3 appears to be flexible and is a critical determinant in maintaining Lu gp in a Laminin binding conformation. In addition a cluster of negatively charge amino-acids in the domain 2 domain 3 boundary was discovered to form the Laminin511/521 binding site on Lu gp. These studies present an opportunity for the development of therapeutics for sickle cell disease".

(Link to Abstract)                (November 2007)

Mollison's Blood Transfusion in Clinical Medicine receives Award

Mollison's Blood Transfusion in Clinical Medicine, published in 2005 and edited by Professors David Anstee and Harvey Klein, has received an Honorable Mention in the Books for Physicians section of the American Medical Writers Association Medical Books Competition 2006. The book awards were established more than 30 years ago by the American Medical Writers Association to recognize the best of the best in non-fictional and fictional medical writing. It is the first time that a haematology textbook has been recognised.

(November 2006)

Member of Staff awarded PhD Degree by the University of Bristol

Dr Rebecca Griffiths has been awarded a PhD from the University of Bristol for her thesis entitled "The distribution and trafficking of normal prion protein in cultured human erythroblasts" The prion protein at present has an unknown function, but is a widely distributed normal component of cell membranes. Changes in the structure of the protein are thought to give rise to diseases known as transmissable spongiform encephalopathies, such as variant CJD. Dr Griffiths was able to grow immature red cell precursor cells, called erythroblasts, in the lab. She used confocal microscopy to show where in these cells the normal prion protein is found, its associations with other membrane proteins, and how the protein moves to and from the cell membrane. Prion biology is of interest to the Blood Service because of reports that variant CJD might be transmitted by blood transfusion. Dr Griffiths' findings increase our understanding of prions in blood cells and may lead to improved methods of ensuring that blood transfusions remain safe.

(October 2006)

Red Cell Reference Laboratory gains Conditional Clinical Pathology Accreditation

After a two-day inspection by the CPA (UK) Ltd, the Red Cell Reference, Membrane Biochemistry and Functional Assays services of IBGRL were successful in gaining CPA conditional accreditation, reference no. 2356 . Further details can be found on the CPA website

(July 2006)

CE-Marking of reagents for the quantitation of feto-maternal haemorrhage

Quantitation of any feto-maternal haemorrhage occurring at the time of birth is required to determine the amount of prophylactic anti-D to administer to the mother. The flow cytometry test for this uses monoclonal anti-RhD (BRAD 3-FITC) and a negative control monoclonal antibody (AEVZ5.3-FITC), made by IBGRL Reagents. These reagents are now available CE-marked to comply with the European In-vitro Device Directive. They are available individually (product code 9433 for BRAD 3-FITC and product code 9442 for AEVZ5.3-FITC), or as a kit containing both reagents (product code 9447). The benefit to users of CE-marking has been introduced without any increase in the price of these products.  

Click here for further details.

(May 2006)

New prices for IBGRL Research Products

Click here to see the catalogue

(April 2006)

Mollison's Blood Transfusion in Clinical Medicine. 11th edition, 2005 Harvey G Klein & David J Anstee

A highly respected, long established book that has become the 'bible' in transfusion medicine.

"Both authors have dealt in an authoritative way with the still rapidly expanding specialty and the eleventh edition of the book will be of the greatest value to all who are interested in the scientific and practical aspects of blood transfusion in clinical medicine." from the Foreword by Professor P.L.Mollison

For purchasing information visit the publisher's website.

(January 2006)

Newly available on this website is section on Blood Group Terminology. It is an updated and expanded presentation of the data published by the International Society for Blood Transfusion Committee on the Terminology of Red Cell Surface Antigens (2004).

(December 2005)

One of our 2005 papers, Manoussaka et al Flow cytometric characterisation of cells of differing densities isolated from human term placentae and enrichment of villous trophoblast cells, is in the "Top 25 Hottest articles in Placenta" This list is calculated from the number of times the paper has been accessed out of all the articles published online. 

(December 2005)

Dr Ashley Toye has been awarded the first National Blood Service - Wellcome Fellowship to continue his studies on the red blood cell protein Anion Exchanger 1

Click here for further details...

(November 2005)

Blood Group Genotyping laboratory gains Clinical Pathology Accreditation

After a two-day inspection by the CPA (UK) Ltd, the Blood Group Genotyping laboratory was successful in gaining CPA accreditation, reference no. 2226 . Further details can be found on the CPA website

The workload of the laboratory has increased dramatically with the non-invasive fetal genotyping test using maternal blood almost completely replacing the earlier test using amniotic fluid. Click here for further details.


New prices for IBGRL Research Products

Click here to see the catalogue

(April 2005)

The web pages describing the Clinical Biotechnology Centre have been revised and updated.

Click here 

(February 2005)


The results of the ISBT / ICSH International Workshop on Molecular Blood Group Genotyping are now available on this website.

 Click here to jump to the Workshop page.

(December 2004)


This website will be hosting the results of the ISBT / ICSH International Workshop on Molecular Blood Group Genotyping. 

The Workshop was held at the beginning of 2004 with the feedback meeting in Edinburgh in July 2004.

When the data have been collated the results will be available on this website.

Click here to jump to the Workshop page. (holding page at present)

(November 2004)


Clinical Biotechnology Centre gains Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) Accreditation (May 2004)

The CBC was inspected recently and the facility has been accredited by the MHRA against the requirements for EU GMP and now holds a manufacturing authorisation for Investigational Medicinal Products to comply with the EU clinical trials directive 2001/20/EC

Click to go to the CBC home page



Studies on the binding site on ICAM-4 for aV  integrins.

Cell adhesion is of vital importance for a number of cellular functions. Several molecular families of cell adhesion proteins are known, among which the most important are the integrins and their cellular and soluble ligands. Dr Tosti Mankelow and his colleagues at BITS have used mutational analysis to map the binding site on ICAM-4 for aV integrins and visualized the binding site using a structural model based on the structure of ICAM-2.

Click here for editorial in Blood.

Click here for full paper in Blood.


Identification of the MER2 / CD151 gene and its role in the maintenance of basement membrane structure. 

Dr Vanja Karamatic Crew presented her work on the identification of the gene encoding the MER2 blood group / CD151 glycoprotein at the congress of the American Society of Hematology in San Diego in December 2003, where it was selected to be presented as part of the extremely prestigious Presidentís plenary session. Click here for abstract and figure.


Human Blood Groups, Second Edition, 2002

Over a century has passed since Landsteiner discovered the human blood groups, making the practice of blood transfusion possible. Yet, in the six years since the first edition of Human Blood Groups was published, new blood groups have been discovered, several blood group genes have been cloned, and the molecular backgrounds of numerous blood group variants have been worked out. All this new information has made the production of a second edition of Human Blood Groups timely.

Human Blood Groups is a comprehensive and fully referenced text covering scientific and clinical aspects of red cell surface antigens, including their serology, inheritance, biochemistry, molecular genetics, biological functions and clinical significance in transfusion medicine.

The author is Dr Geoff Daniels, Senior Research Fellow and Molecular Diagnostics Manager, BITS / IBGRL.

For purchasing information visit the publisher's website.


MSc in Transfusion and Transplantation Science course receives accreditation from the IBMS (July 2001)

The Institute of Biomedical Sciences has inspected the course content and organisation, and interviewed some of the current students. The MSc Course is now accredited by the IBMS and students can use the MSc qualification as part of the requirements for registration for Fellowship of the IBMS.


New format for the MSc in Transfusion and Transplantation Science course for October 2001 

The timetable for the MSC course has been amended for 2001 intake to make it easier for part-time (NBS and NHS) students to complete the course. Part-time students will now be able to attend the course in two 2-week blocks in each of the autumn and spring terms in years one and two. Full-time students will still be able to complete the course in one year's study. (Details)


Launch of new non-invasive fetal genotyping service for RhD (May 2001) (Reference Services)

Starting from a sample of mother's blood, clinicians can now obtain the RhD antigen status of a fetus who might be at risk of haemolytic disease of the newborn . This test, developed at IBGRL, avoids the use of hazardous amniocentesis, and will aid in the management of at-risk pregnancies.


Updated information on the BITS Clinical Biotechnology Centre. (May 2001) (CBC)


Improved DNA-based technique introduced for fetal typing in RhD-negative persons of African descent.

Prenatal determination of fetal blood group status is used in the  management of alloimmunized pregnancies. IBGRL offers a range  of PCR-based tests for all clinically-significant blood group antigens. RhD typing involves multiplex PCR tests to detect to presence or absence of the RHD gene. However, this approach results in false-positive results in D-negative Blacks. Scientists at BITS have recently demonstrated that most D-negative Blacks have a RHD pseudogene [Singleton et al. Blood, 95:12-18 (2000)]. This pseudogene contains a 37 base pair insert in exon 4, which may introduce a stop codon preventing translation. 

IBGRL has used this information to introduce a new PCR-based test which identifies both RHD gene and RHD pseudogene. 

Bursary Available for University of Bristol MSc Course in Transfusion and Transplantation Sciences

We are now recruiting students for September 2000. A limited number of places are currently available for both full-time and part-time study.

We are pleased to announce the availability of a bursary to fund, in full, tuition fees for a UK or European student. 

The bursary is funded in part by DiaMed.

Click here for full details on the course, the bursary and access to other on-line educational materials


International Rare Donor Panels on the Internet

The UK National and International Rare Donor Panels are now on the Internet as part of IBGRL's web site. Users with appropriate authorization can now search on-line and locate donors with rare blood groups around the world. The search engine was designed by Richard Cook at NBS Colindale.


New Isotype-Matched Control for FITC-BRAD 3

We have introduced an isotype matched human antibody FITC-AEVZ5.3 for use in parallel with FITC -BRAD-3 as a negative control on clinical samples. The antibody is non-red cell reactive, conjugated and diluted for flow cytometry labelling in the same manner as FITC-BRAD-3. Clinical trials of this antibody has shown a better and more consistent quantitation of FMH samples compared to the standard method of subtracting the background binding of FITC-BRAD-3 to rr cells.


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