Glossary of Terms
Adenovirus: A common virus that causes a “cold” in most people with a normal immune system. In a patient with a compromised immune system such as those after a SCT, adenovirus can attack the gut, liver, eyes, pancreas or lungs (causing pneumonia).
Allogeneic: The stem cells are from a donor other than the patient. These types of transplants are used when the patient’s own stem cells are diseased.
Autologous: The stem cells are from the patient. These types of transplants are used when the patient’s stem cells are not diseased.
BK Virus: A virus that in people with a normal immune system causes a cold including symptoms such as fever. In a patient with a compromised immune system such as those after a SCT, BK virus can cause life-threatening infections usually involving the kidney, bladder or urinary tract.
Bone Marrow: The spongy material found in the center of bones. It is the factory where the body’s blood and stem cells are made. Bone marrow can be collected from a donor to use in a stem cell transplant.
Chemotherapy: The use of drugs to treat diseases.
Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR): A combination of a-cancer-specific antibody and a T lymphocyte.
Conditioning: The chemotherapy and/or radiation given to patients as part of a stem cell transplant.
Consolidation Therapy: Therapy given close to the initial therapy to try to improve the response.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV): A common virus that infects most people. In a patient with a healthy immune system CMV is not dangerous. In patients with a compromised immune system such as those after a SCT, CMV can attack the gut, liver, eyes, or lungs (causing pneumonia).
Donor: The individual whose stem cells will be given to the recipient.
Epstein Barr Virus (EBV): The virus that causes infectious mononucleosis. This virus is frequently found in the cancer cells of patients who have Hodgkin disease (lymphoma) and Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (NPC).
Ex Vivo: A procedure completed outside of the human body.
G-CSF (Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor): A product that stimulates the bone marrow to produce more stem cells and release them into the peripheral blood.
Graft vs. Host Disease: A complication that can occur following an allogeneic transplant. The new, transplanted cells regard the recipient's body as foreign. When this happens, the newly transplanted cells attack the recipient's body.
Haploidentical Donor: A family member who will serve as a stem cell donor for the patient but is not a perfect match.
HHV6 Virus: HHV6 is a virus that in people with a normal immune system causes symptoms such as fever, diarrhea. In a patient with a compromised immune system such as those after a SCT, HHV6 virus can affect many organs including the brain, lungs, heart, kidney and gastrointestinal tract.
HLA System (HLA): White blood cells carry a distinguishing fingerprint on their surface called the HLA system.
HLA (Stem Cell) Matching: Only cells that are similar to the recipients can be used for a stem cell transplant. A perfect match would be a 6/6 HLA match. A 5/6 HLA match is still considered to be a matched transplant. A haploidentical transplant is a 3/6 match.
Immunotherapy: The use of agents similar to those produced naturally by the body’s immune system to fight disease.
Maintenance Therapy: Therapy given after the primary treatment to try maintain the response to initial treatment.
Metronomic Chemotherapy: A method of treating patients with repetitive, low doses of chemotherapy drugs over a longer period of time. This differs from most standard chemotherapy treatments which are given at high doses for short periods of time. The intent of metronomic chemotherapy is to decrease toxicity caused by the chemotherapy.
Monoclonal Antibody: A specialized protein made in a laboratory to help the body’s immune system destroy cells that are harmful to the body.
Peripheral Blood Stem Cells: Stem cells collected from the peripheral blood of a donor to be used in a stem cell transplant. Collection of stem cells using this method yields a smaller number of stem cells than collection from the bone marrow. Sometimes a donor’s peripheral stem cells are “mobilized” to increase the number of stem cells by giving the donor doses of products such as G-CSF.
Platelets: The blood cells that form clots to stop bleeding.
Radiotherapy: The use of radiation (like X-rays) to treat disease.
Recipient: The person (patient) undergoing a stem cell transplant.
Red Blood Cells (RBC): The blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.
Reduced Intensity Stem Cell Transplant: A stem cell transplant that includes lower doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation than is standard. This type of stem cell transplant is most commonly used in situations where the patient has underlying conditions that might make the chemotherapy/radiation excessively toxic to them.
Stem Cells: “Mother” blood cells from which several different types of blood cells such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are formed.
Stem Cell Transplant (SCT): To treat cancer and other conditions high dose chemotherapy and/or radiation may be given to patients. As a result the patient’s bone marrow may be injured or destroyed. In a stem cell transplant the patient is given an infusion of healthy stem cells. The stem cells migrate to the cavities of the large bones and begin producing blood cells. Stem cell transplants can be allogeneic or autologous depending on what kind of disease the patient has.
Suicide Gene: A gene that can be added to cells that when “activated” by another drug causes the cell to die. Suicide genes are most commonly used in situations where cells being given to patients may cause side effects such as Graft vs. Host Disease.
Tandem Stem Cell Transplant: A stem cell transplant followed by another stem cell transplant. The transplants can be weeks or months apart and other treatment may be given in between the two transplants.
T Lymphocytes (T cells): A type of white blood cell that fights disease.
Transduction: The insertion of a gene into a cell using a virus.
Tumor Vaccine: Tumor cells that have been modified ex vivo to make them more immunogenic. Immunogenicity is the ability of the body’s immune system to recognize something as foreign and to attack it. Tumor vaccines are injected into patients to stimulate their immune function to recognize tumor cells as foreign.
Umbilical Cord Stem Cells: Stem cells collected from the umbilical cord. While the umbilical cord is a rich source of stem cells, the amount of blood (and stem cells) that can be collected from it is limited. Patient size can therefore impact the ability to use umbilical cord stem cells in a stem cell transplant.
White blood cells (WBC): The blood cells that fight infections and protect the body from germs.