The Working Party (WP) for Red Cell Immunogenetics and Blood Group Terminology (RCI & BGT) of the International Society for Blood Transfusion (ISBT) develops and maintains guidelines for blood group antigens and allele nomenclature for use in Transfusion Medicine.
The recognition of a new blood group system, as well as of new blood group antigens, requires the unequivocal detection of an alloantibody against a Red Blood Cell (RBC) antigen and clarification of the causative genetic background. Five of the new blood group systems involve high incidence antigens. The systems, in the order of their description, are known as KANNO (ISBT 037), SID, PEL, MAM, and EMM. In all five cases, most people are positive for the high incidence antigens. Few individuals, however, type negative for these antigens in every blood group system. The two new blood group systems CTL2 and ABCC1, encoded by the genes CTL2 and ABCC1 were full “de novo” observations (e.g., reported for their antibodies and genetic background for the first time).
In the four WP meetings since and including 2019, three new blood group antigens of the Knops blood group system were ratified, two new each for the Lutheran, Scianna, Gerbich, and John-Milton Hagen systems, and one each for RhCE, RhAG, Diego, and MNS. The total number of blood group antigens now recognized by the WP within the known blood group systems has risen to 345.
While reports for many new blood systems/antigens come from individual members or affiliates of the WP, reports are also presented from the broader Transfusion Community. All immunohematologists are encouraged to present such findings to the WP.
Christoph Gassner, Prof. Dr. rer. nat.
Professor of Medical Biology at the Institute for Translational Medicine of the Private University in the Principality of Liechtenstein
Christoph Gassner, Prof. Dr. rer. nat., is a Professor of Medical Biology at the Institute for Translational Medicine of the Private University in the Principality of Liechtenstein. He is a specialist in acquired and innate immunogenetics (HLA and non-HLA immunogenetics) and an expert in human blood groups and their genetic basis (immunohematology).
Microbiologist and biochemist, Dr. Gassner obtained his doctorate on epigenetics in bacteriophages at the Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck in 1994. Thereafter, he implemented the molecular HLA determination at the Institute for Blood Transfusion and Immunological Department, Innsbruck Clinics. Then he worked on the development and commercialization of genetic blood grouping from 1994 to 1998. During his post-doc period, he performed research at the FHCRC in Seattle in 1999 and at the Basel Institute for Immunology in 2000 on the immunogenetics of killer cells. Thereafter, he founded and led the Department of Molecular Blood Grouping at the Institute of Blood Transfusion and Immunology, Innsbruck Clinics from 2001 to 2010. In 2005, he got the habilitation on the genetics of the RhD system and from 2010 to 2019 he took over the Head of the Department of Molecular Diagnostics and R&D at Blutspende Zürich. During this period, he implemented a high-throughput blood group genotyping platform by MALDI-TOF MS and developed digital PCR assays for successful monitoring of bone marrow transplants. Since 2020, he has been a Professor of Medical Biology and head of the Institute for Translational Medicine at the Private University in the Principality of Liechtenstein.
Dr. Gassner has authored more than 80 scientific articles with an H-index at 30. Since 2006, he has been the co-editor of "Transfusion Medicine and Hemotherapy" and since 2018, has co-chaired the Working Party on "Red Cell Immunogenetics and Blood Group Terminology" of the International Society for Blood Transfusion (ISBT).