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American Society for Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics
1120 Route 73
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054 USA
Description The American Society for Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics (ASHI) is a professional organization dedicated to optimizing patient outcome through research, education, and the advancement of immunogenetic testing. Immunogenetics is the study of immunity to disease and the relationship to genetic make-up. The Society is committed to serving as the source of immunogenetic expertise for the health care industry; the major scientific evidence-based public policy advocate for immunogenetics; the primary resource for ASHI member education and accreditation; and a recognized patient advocate. The Society is also dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of reliability and quality in histocompatibility testing laboratories. To achieve this objective, the Society has established standards that all histocompatibility laboratories must meet if their services are to be considered acceptable. Histocompatibility refers to the study of factors that determine the acceptance or rejection of transplanted tissues or organs. Histocompatibility testing is the performance of specialized analyses (assays) to determine whether the recipient and donor are histocompatible, i.e., that they share antigens so that transplanted tissue is accepted and remains functional. Histocompatibility antigens are proteins on the surface of the cells in the body that help the immune system defend against invaders, such as bacteria and viruses; in addition, the immune system may recognize the histocompatibility antigens of other people's cells as foreign, resulting in rejection of transplanted tissues or organs. The American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics also performs an on-site laboratory inspection every two years to ensure that accredited laboratories comply with all the standards. Both the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) utilize the accreditation services of ASHI to inspect and certify that member histocompatibility laboratories comply with the standards. The Society's additional programs and activities include conducting an Annual Meeting and a series of regional workshops; publishing ASHI newsletters, Council Meeting Reports, and Committee and Projects Updates; and maintaining a web site on the Internet. The Society's web site provides access to ASHI publications, understandable patient information on immunogenetics and histocompatibility, access to the ASHI Directory Online, and linkage to related sites. The Society also offers open discussions about histocompatibility and immunogenetics on the Internet as well as e-mail discussion groups (listservs) about kidney transplantation and bone marrow transplantation.