Cancer Research UK

Organisation background

Since 1963 the Tissue Antigen Laboratory have been involved in the genetics of the HLA system, identification and inheritance patterns of new genes and alleles, population distribution and relevance to disease, particularly most recently in cancer. The Tissue Antigen Laboratory has been based in the Imperial Cancer Research Fund since 1979. Before that it was in the Genetics Laboratory in Oxford University and Department of Genetics in Stanford University of California. Since its inception Julia Bodmer and colleagues have been members of the WHO Nomenclature Committee for Factors of the HLA System and rapporteurs of the HLA nomenclature reports and, as a natural consequence of that, have developed and maintained the HLA sequence database. In 1996, the old Tissue Antigen Laboratory in London was closed. Julia Bodmer moved to a new ICRF laboratory in Oxford called the Cancer and Immunogenetics Laboratory, which she ran jointed with Sir Walter Bodmer, up to her death on the 29th january 2001. Steven Marsh has moved to the Anthony Nolan Research Institute and is continuing the work on HLA Nomenclature.

The laboratory was the first to develop a DNA based typing assay for the definition of HLA Class I alleles, using an ARMS-PCR approach. This assay is currently being used in over 150 laboratories worldwide as part of the Anthropology studies of the 12th International Histocompatibility Workshop. This has facilitated an in depth knowledge of the HLA sequence polymorphism.

Responsible scientist

Sir. Walter F. Bodmer PhD, FRCPath, FRS (
Cancer Research UK
Cancer and Immunogenetics Laboratory, CIL
Institute of Molecular Medicine
John Radcliffe Hospital
Tel : +44 1865 222 422
Fax : +44 1865 222 384
Tel : +44 1865 279 405/7 (Hertford College)
Fax : +44 1865 279 437 (Hertford College)

Other personnel

Chikodi Echeta (
Susan Tonks (


Dr. Steven G.E. Marsh (
Anthony Nolan Research Institute (ANRI)
Royal Free Hospital
Pond Street
Tel : +44 171 284 8321
Fax : +44 171 284 8331

Contribution to IMGT

-> Access to IMGT/HLA-DB

Last updated: Friday, 22-Sep-2023 18:16:31 CEST
Author: Marie-Paule Lefranc
Editors: Chantal Ginestoux and Valérie Contet