News Article

Texas Immunodiagnostics Lab Adopts Innovative Test to Improve Transplant Outcomes

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Southwest Immunodiagnostics, Inc. (SWID) in San Antonio, Texas, is a unique laboratory that is passionate about transplantation. The lab has a strong focus on its patients and providing the best care possible.

Most of their patients come from South Texas, a region traditionally not well served by medicine. However, SWID is making a difference in these patients' lives by providing them with the high-quality care they may not have had access to otherwise.

The SWID team plays a vital role in getting people transplanted, helping them to lead healthier lives, and ultimately changing their lives for the better. Cathi Murphey Half, Director of the Immunogenetics Lab, has seen the positive impact of their work firsthand, and she is grateful for the opportunity to make a difference. Through her leadership and the team's dedication, they have been able to provide exceptional care to patients in need.

Recently, the lab has incorporated the LABScreen™ Single Antigen ExPlex assay into every single antigen test they do. This change has expanded the coverage, allowing them to match patients with donors more effectively and monitor their progress after transplant. This approach has significantly impacted their patients' lives, and the lab is proud of the work they have done in transplantation.

SWID is committed to continuing its work in transplantation and positively impacting patients' lives. By focusing on patients and incorporating innovative techniques, they hope to make a difference and improve access to quality care.

Read Transcript

Cathi Murphey: My name is Cathi Murphey. I'm the HLA lab director at Southwest Immunodiagnostics in San Antonio. I think one of the things that makes our lab special, I think everybody thinks their lab’s special, but at Southwest, it's the people.

Marvin Sims: The Southwest Immunodiagnostics is a pretty special place to work. We try to find people that really do care about transplant who are interested in learning more about the science behind what we do here and who are really interested in doing a good job and taking care of our patients.

Cathi Murphey: Everything in this laboratory revolves around our patients, but also the next priority is our staff because we really are like a family at SWID. We have six different transplant centers that we perform services for that include liver, kidney, heart, pancreas, kidney pancreas, and five different bone marrow centers.

Marvin Sims: Most of the patients that we serve at this laboratory are from the South Texas area, and this is an area that traditionally hasn't been served very well by medicine as a whole.

Cathi Murphey: It's very challenging servicing six different transplant centers when they all have all different requirements.

Marvin Sims: Some of our transplant centers are really interested in trying to transplant as many patients as safely and as quickly as possible, and of course they all want to be safe they all want to do it as quickly and efficiently, but some tend to be a lot more cautious. Since the Explex beads started coming out, we've been incorporating them into every single single antigen bead test that we do.

Cathi Murphey: We know that there are holes in our coverage for our regular single antigen beads, and the Explex beads have expanded the coverage enough to where, even within certain serotypes, we're able to define what serotypes donors would fit into so that we can match our patients with our donors. I'll give you an example of one of the patients that we transplanted recently with imlifidase. So, this patient, we dropped off a lot of antibodies. We had a donor that popped up for him that was a B3502, which is a bead that's on the Explex panel that's not on the single antigen bead panel. This donor was perfect for this patient. We transplanted them. So now we have the bead B3502 that we can monitor to see the efficacy of the drug and how well that antibody went away and when it rebounded.

Marvin Sims: With the Explex beads, we're able to see a higher degree of specificity on some of the HLA antibodies that the patients have, and because of that, we are able to advise the centers: “well this antibody is there, but it's actually pretty low level” or “this antibody is there, and this is very specific and it's very high level, you should probably avoid this”. They can use the data from the Explex beads to monitor that patient closely after transplant, so if they see that antibody level going up, they can give the patient more treatment. I'm proud of the work we do here getting people transplanted—people that normally wouldn't have access to this kind of care without our laboratory. Our laboratory is an important part of the background of what's going on to get folks transplanted, get them off dialysis, get them their liver transplants, get them their heart transplants, help them be healthy.

Cathi Murphey: I think our role that we played in transplantation has had a huge impact. I know it's been a huge impact on our patients lives, and I've seen that no more so than when we've had a couple of the reunions where our patients have shown up and they've came in and given me a big hug and said “you don't have any idea how you've actually changed our lives”. It's been incredible.

Many thanks to: 

Dr. Cathi Murphey Half 
Director, Immunogenetics Lab 
Southwest Immunodiagnostics, Inc.
San Antonio, Texas

Marvin Sims
Medical Technologist
Southwest Immunodiagnostics, Inc.
San Antonio, Texas