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Glossary of Terms



Acute- having severe symptoms and a short course.

Alkaline phosphatase- an enzyme produced by the liver or bone. An elevated level of alkaline phosphatase in the blood may indicate a liver or bone problem.

ABMT- autologous bone marrow transplant.

Adjuvant therapy- additional drug or other treatment designed to enhance the effectiveness of the primary treatment.

Alopecia- loss of hair.

Anemia- too few red blood cells in the bloodstream, resulting in insufficient oxygen to tissues and organs.

Anaphalaxis- acute allergic reaction shortness of breath, rash, wheezing, hypotension.

Antibiotic- a drug used to fight bacterial infections.

Antibody- a protein produced by the body, in response to a foreign substance, that fights the invading organism.

Antiemetic- a drug used to control nausea and vomiting.

Antigen- a substance that evokes a response from the body's immune system resulting in the production of antibodies or other defensive action by white blood cells.

Apheresis- a painless procedure by which blood is withdrawn from a patient's arm and circulated through a machine that removes certain components and returns the remaining components to the patient. This procedure is used to remove platelets from platelet donors' blood, or stem cells from patients undergoing a peripheral stem cell harvest.

Aplasia- a failure to develop or form. In bone marrow "aplasia," the marrow cavity is empty.

Ascites- accumulation of fluid in the stomach area.

Ataxia- loss of balance.

Autologous- bone marrow transplant transplant in which the patient's own bone marrow, rather than marrow from a donor, is infused during transplant to provide the body with a source of stem cells.

Autograft- bone marrow removed from the patient to be used in an autologous BMT.

Bacteria- microscopic organisms that invade human cells, multiply rapidly, and produce toxins that interfere with normal cell functions.

Baseline test- test which measures an organ's normal level of functioning. Used to determine if any changes in organ function occur following treatment.

Bilirubin- a pigment produced when the liver processes waste products. A high bilirubin level causes yellowing of the skin.

Biopsy- removal of tissue for examination under a microscope, sometimes required to enable the doctor to make a proper diagnosis.

Blast cell- immature cell.

Bone marrow- spongy tissue in the cavities of large bones, where the body's blood cells are produced.

Bone marrow aspiration- procedure used to remove a sample of bone marrow, usually from the rear hip bone, for examination under the microscope.

Cardiac- pertaining to the heart.

Catheter- small, flexible plastic tube inserted into a portion of the body to administer or remove fluids.

CBC- complete blood count. Determines whether the proper number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are present in the patient's blood.

Central line- see central venous catheter.

Central venous catheter- small, flexible plastic tube inserted into the large vein above the heart, through which drugs and blood products can be given, and blood samples withdrawn painlessly (also called central line; Hickman® catheter).

Chemo-responsive- responds to chemotherapy, e.g., a tumor is chemo-responsive if it shrinks in size following chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy- drug or combination of drugs designed to kill cancerous cells.

Chronic- persisting for a long time.

Clinical trial- a study of the effectiveness of a drug or treatment. Phase I trials: new treatments are tested in small numbers of patients that have shown activity in preclinical tests. Phase II trials: determines whether a drug has anti tumor activity and estimates the responce rate in a defined population. Phase III trial: if significant activity is observed in any disease during a Phase II trial, a Phase III trial is developed to compare the new drug with standard or other experimental treatments.

CNS- central nervous system.

Colony stimulating factor- proteins that stimulate the production and growth of certain types of blood cells.

Conditioning- see preparative regimen.

Conjunctivitis- eye inflammation.

Contracture- shortening of muscle, skin and other soft tissue, usually in the limbs. May occur in patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease.

CSF- see colony stimulating factor.

CT-Scan- also called a CAT-scan or CT-X-ray. A three dimensional x-ray.

Dermatitis- a skin rash.

Dysplasia- alteration in the size, shape and organization of cells or tissues.

-ectomy- surgical removal.

Edema- abnormal accumulation of fluid, e.g., pulmonary edema refers to a build-up of fluid in the lungs.

EKG- test to determine the pattern of a patient's heartbeat.

Electrolyte- minerals found in the blood such as sodium potassium that must be maintained within a certain range to prevent organ malfunction.

-emia- of the blood; usually refers to a blood disorder, e.g., leukemia or anemia Emesis vomit.

Engraftment- when bone marrow infused during a BMT "takes" or is accepted by the patient, and begins producing blood cells.

Enzyme- a protein that is capable of facilitating a chemical reaction.

Eosinophil- a type of white blood cell that protects against infection.

Febrile- feverish.

Foley catheter- flexible plastic tube inserted into the bladder to provide continuous urinary drainage.

Fungus- a primitive life form that can cause infection in the body. Fungi that sometimes cause post-transplant infections are the Candida and Aspergillus fungi.

Gastritis- inflammation of the stomach.

Gastrointestinal- refers to the stomach and intestines.

G-CSF- granulocyte colony stimulating factor. A protein that stimulates the growth and maturation of granulocytes.

GI- gastrointestinal.

GM-CSF granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor- A protein that stimulates the growth and maturation of a wide variety of white blood cells.

Graft rejection- when donated bone marrow infused during a BMT is rejected by the patient's body or doesn't "take."

Granulocyte- a sub class of white blood cells, so named because of the presence of granules in the cell. These cells protect the body against bacterial infections.

Growth factor- see colony stimulating factor.

Hematocrit- the percentage of the blood made up of red blood cells.

Hematology- the study of blood and its disorders.

Hemoglobin- the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues.

Hemorrhage- bleeding.

Hemorrhagic cystitis- bladder ulcers.

Hepat(o)- pertaining to the liver.

Hepatitis- inflammation of the liver.

Hickman® catheter- see central venous line.

HLA- see human leukocyte antigen.

Human leukocyte- antigen a genetic "fingerprint" on white blood cells and platelets, composed of proteins that play a critical role in activating the body's immune system to respond to foreign organisms.

Hyper- excessive,increased.

Hypertension- high blood pressure.

Hypo- a deficiency, less than usual.

Hypotension- low blood pressure.

Iliac crest- the hip bone in which a large quantity of bone marrow is concentrated.

Immune system- the body's defense network against infection and foreign particles.

Immunocompromised- a condition in which the immune system is not functioning normally.

Immunoglobulin- an antibody.

Immunosuppression- a condition in which the patients immune system is functioning at a lower than normal level.

-itis- inflammation.

Intravenous- through a vein.

Jaundice- yellowing of the skin and eyes. A sign that the liver is not functioning properly.

Karnofsky score- a measure of the patirnt's overall physical health following a BMT, judged by his or her level of activity.

Laminar air flow unit- an air-filtering system used at some transplant facilities to remove particulate matter and fungi from the air.

Leukocyte- white blood cell.

Lymphocyte- a type of white blood cell that helps protect the body against invading organisms by producing antibodies and regulating the immune system response.

Macrophage- a type of white blood cell that assists in the body's fight against bacteria and infection by engulfing and destroying invading organisms.

Mediastinum- The folds of the pleura and intervening space between the right and left lund.

Mentation- thinking.

Metabolite- a by-product of the breakdown of either food or medication by the body.

Metastatic- spread of a disease from the organ or tissue of origin to another part of the body.

Monoclonal antibody- antibodies that are all identical, derived from a single "clone." Sometimes used in "purging," a process by which certain cells are removed from bone marrow before infusion into patients.

Monocyte- a type of white blood cell that assists in the fight against bacteria and fungi that invade the body.

Morbidity- sickness; side effects and symptoms of a treatment or disease.

MRI- magnetic resonance imaging. A method of taking pictures of body tissue using magnetic fields and radio waves.

Mucositis- mouth sores.

Neuro- pertaining to the nervous system.

Neutropenia- a deficiency of neutrophils.

Neutrophil- a type of white blood cell that is the body's primary defense against harmful bacteria.

NPO- do not take anything by mouth.

Oncology- the study of cancer.

Packed red blood cells- red blood cells collected from one individual that are packed into a small volume for transfusion into a patient.

Palliative- provides relief.

Pancytopenia- a deficiency of all types of blood cells.

Paracentesis- puncture of cavity with removal of fluid.

-pathy- disease.

Peritoneal Cavity- part of body containing all the abdominal organs exclusive of the kidneys.

Peritoneum- membrane lining the peritoneal cavity.

-penia- deficiency, e.g., neutropenia means a deficiency of a type of white blood cell called a neutrophil.

Peripheral neuropathy- injury to the nerves that supply sensation to the arms and legs.

Petechiae- small red spots on the skin that usually indicate a low platelet count.

Phlebitis- inflammation of a vein.

-plasia- development,formation

Plasma- the fluid and protein-containing portion of the blood.

Platelets- the smallest cell elements in the blood, needed to control bleeding.

Pleura- membrane surounding the lung. There are two pleurae, right and left.

Pleurectomy- removal of part of the pleura.

Pleurocentesis- surgical puncture of the pleural cavity through which fluid may be removed.

Pneumonectomy- removal of a lung.

Polycythemia- an increase in the total number of red blood cells in the bloodstream.

Prognosis- the predicted or likely outcome.

Prophylactic- preventive measure or medication.

Protocol- the plan of treatment.

Pulmonary- pertaining to the lungs

RBC- red blood cell.

Red blood cell- cells that pick up oxygen from the lungs and transport it to tissues throughout the body.

Relapse- recurrence of the disease following treatment.

Remission- complete condition in which no cancerous cells can be detected by a microscope, and the patient appears to be disease -free.

Remission- partial generally means that by all methods used to measure the existence of a tumor, there has been at least a 50 percent regression of the disease following treatment.

Renal- pertaining to the kidney.

Sepsis- the presence of organisms in the blood.

SGOT- an enzyme produced by the liver. Elevated levels of SGOT in the blood indicate a liver problem.

SGPT- an enzyme produced by the liver. Elevated levels of SGPT in the blood indicate a liver problem.

Solid tumor- a cancer that originates in organ or tissue other than bone marrow or the lymph system.

Stem cell- "mother" blood cells from which several different types of blood cells evolve. Steroid- in bone marrow transplantation, a drug commonly used in combination with other drugs to prevent and control graft-versus- host disease.

Stomatitis- mouth sores.

Subclavian catheter- see central venous catheter.

T-cell- a type of white blood cell that can distinguish which cells belong in a person's body and which do not.

TBI- total body irradiation.

Thrombocyte- see platelet

Toxin- poison.

Trauma- injury.

Tumor- uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in an organ or tissue.

Tumor burden- the size of the tumor or number of abnormal cells in the organ or tissue.

Ultrasound- a technique for taking a picture of internal organs or other structures using sound waves.

Veno-occlusive disease- a disease that sometimes occurs following high-dose chemotherapy and/or radiation, in which the blood vessels that carry blood through the liver become swollen and clogged.

Virus- a tiny parasitelike agent that invades organisms, such as human cells, and alters their genetic machinery, turning them into factories for production of more of the virus.

VOD- see veno-occlusive disease.

WBC- white blood cell count.

Whole blood- blood that has not been separated into its various components.

Xerostomia- dryness of the mouth caused by malfunctioning salivary glands.