1964 – Durham

The First Histocompatibility Workshop

The First Histocompatibility Testing Workshop was organized by Dr. Bernard Amos and held in his laboratory at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in June of 1964. Participants included 23 pioneering investigators actively engaged in the study of the recently discovered human “leukocyte antigens.” The workshop was convened for the purpose of comparing the different in vitro assay systems used at the time to define antigens which were described as Hu-1 (Dausset and Ivanyi), LA (Payne and Bodmer), and Four (van Rood). Among the assay methods studied in the “wet workshop” format at Duke were serology (including agglutination, cytotoxicity, leukocyte and platelet complement fixation, and mixed hemabsorption), the mixed lymphocyte culture reaction, the normal lymphocyte transfer test, and skin grafting. For the serology “component”, very few sera were available for testing, and participants in the wet workshop were only able to study six sera consisting of one ml each! It was at this workshop that Paul Terasaki introduced the microcytotoxicity test for serologic typing, and described the first positive leukocyte antibody crossmatch test associated with hyperacute renal graft rejection. The results of the first workshop were modest from the technical and reproducibility standpoints but the potential power of this collaborative work was very apparent and everyone agreed that an important step had been taken in establishing a spirit of international cooperation. Thus began the commitment to sharing reagents, standardizing methods and accepting a common nomenclature.

Reference: Histocompatibility Testing: Report of a Conference and Workshop. Washington DC: National Academy of Sciences – National Research Council, 1965.

In addition, an informative and insightful first-hand account of the first workshop by its organizer and chief proponent can be found in: Amos DB. HLA – A Mouser’s Recollections. In: History of HLA: Ten Recollections. Terasaki PI (ed.), Los Angeles: UCLA Tissue Typing Laboratory, 1990: 61-97.