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Oncology-related Terms Glossary
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oncology-related_terms






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A33 monoclonal antibody

Monoclonal antibodies (mAb or moAb) are monospecific antibodies that are the same because they are made by identical immune cells that are all clones of a unique parent cell. Given almost any substance, it is possible to produce monoclonal antibodies that specifically bind to that substance; they can then serve to detect or purify that substance. This has become an important tool in biochemistry, molecular biology and medicine. When used as medications, the non-proprietary drug name ends in -mab (see "Nomenclature of monoclonal antibodies").

AAP

Abarelix

Alanine aminopeptidase (EC 3.4.11.2) is an enzyme that is used as a biomarker to detect damage to the kidneys, and that may be used to help diagnose certain kidney disorders. It is found at high levels in the urine when there are kidney problems.

abarelix

Abarelix is an injectable gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist (GnRH antagonist). It is primarily used in oncology to reduce the amount of testosterone made in patients with advanced symptomatic prostate cancer for which no other treatment options are available. It belongs to the family of drugs called Gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists.

ABCD rating

ABCD rating, also called the Jewett staging system or the Whitmore-Jewett staging system, is a staging system for prostate cancer that uses the letters A, B, C, and D.

  • "A" and "B" refer to cancer that is confined to the prostate.
  • "C" refers to cancer that has grown out of the prostate but has not spread to lymph nodes or other places in the body.
  • "D" refers to cancer that has spread to lymph nodes or to other places in the body.

ABI-007

Protein-bound paclitaxel is an injectable formulation of paclitaxel, a mitotic inhibitor drug used in the treatment of breast cancer. In this formulation, paclitaxel is bonded to albumin as a delivery vehicle. It is sold in the United States under the trade name Abraxane by Abraxis Bioscience.

ABT-510

ABT-510 is a molecular therapeutic drug used to treat cancer. According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, ABT-510 is a "subcutaneously (SC) administered nonapeptide thrombospondin analogue in phase 2 clinical development for treatment of advanced malignancies."

ABX-EGF

Panitumumab (INN), formerly ABX-EGF, is a fully human monoclonal antibody specific to the epidermal growth factor receptor (also known as EGF receptor, EGFR, ErbB-1 and HER1 in humans). Panitumumab is manufactured by Amgen and marketed as Vectibix. It was originally developed by Abgenix Inc.

Accelerated phase

Chronic myelogenous (or myeloid) leukemia (CML), also known as chronic granulocytic leukemia (CGL), is a cancer of the white blood cells. It is a form of leukemia characterized by the increased and unregulated growth of predominantly myeloid cells in the bone marrow and the accumulation of these cells in the blood. CML is a clonal bone marrow stem cell disorder in which proliferation of mature granulocytes (neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils) and their precursors is the main finding. It is a type of myeloproliferative disease associated with a characteristic chromosomal translocation called the Philadelphia chromosome. It is now treated with one of several targeted therapies including imatinib, dasatinib, and nilotinib, which have dramatically improved survival to nearly 90% due to the advent of these targeted therapies.

ACE inhibitor

ACE inhibitors or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are a group of drugs used primarily for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and congestive heart failure. Originally synthesized from compounds found in pit viper venom, they inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), a component of the blood pressure-regulating renin-angiotensin system.

Frequently prescribed ACE inhibitors include captopril, enalapril, lisinopril, and ramipril.

Acetylcysteine

Acetylcysteine, also known as N-acetylcysteine or N-acetyl-L-cysteine (abbreviated NAC), is a pharmaceutical drug and nutritional supplement used primarily as a mucolytic agent and in the management of paracetamol (acetaminophen) overdose. Other uses include sulfate repletion in conditions, such as autism, where cysteine and related sulfur amino acids may be depleted.

Achlorhydria

Achlorhydria and hypochlorhydria refer to states where the production of gastric acid in the stomach is absent or low, respectively. It is associated with various other medical problems.

Acitretin

Acitretin (trade name Soriatane) is a second generation retinoid. It is taken orally, and is typically used for psoriasis.

It is a metabolite of etretinate, which was used prior to the introduction of acitretin. Etretinate was discontinued because it had a narrow therapeutic index as well as a long elimination half-life (t1/2=120 days), making dosing difficult. In contrast, acitretin's half-life is approximately 2 days.

Acoustic neurofibromatosis

Neurofibromatosis (commonly abbreviated NF; neurofibromatosis type 1 is also known as von Recklinghausen disease) is a genetically-inherited disorder in which the nerve tissue grows tumors (i.e., neurofibromas) that may be benign or may cause serious damage by compressing nerves and other tissues. The disorder affects all neural crest cells (Schwann cells, melanocytes and endoneurial fibroblasts). Cellular elements from these cell types proliferate excessively throughout the body, forming tumors; melanocytes also function abnormally in this disease, resulting in disordered skin pigmentation and "cafe-au-lait" spots. The tumors may cause bumps under the skin, colored spots, skeletal problems, pressure on spinal nerve roots, and other neurological problems.

Acridine carboxamide

Acridine carboxamide (N-[(2'-dimethylamino)ethyl]acridine-4-carboxamide) is an chemotherapy agent that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.

Acrylonitrile

Acrylonitrile is the chemical compound with the formula CH2CHCN. This pungent-smelling colorless liquid often appears yellow due to impurities. It is an important monomer for the manufacture of useful plastics. In terms of its molecular structure, it consists of a vinyl group linked to a nitrile. Pathways of exposure include emissions, auto exhaust, and cigarette smoke that can expose the human subject directly if they inhale or smoke. Routes of exposure include inhalation, oral, and occasional dermal routes from volunteer humans and rat studies.

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis (also called "solar keratosis" and "senile keratosis") is a premalignant condition of thick, scaly, or crusty patches of skin. It is more common in fair-skinned people. It is associated with those who are frequently exposed to the sun, as it is usually accompanied by solar damage. Since some of these pre-cancers progress to squamous cell carcinoma, they should be treated. Untreated lesions have up to twenty percent risk of progression to squamous cell carcinoma.

Action study

In cancer prevention clinical trials, action study is a study that focuses on finding out whether actions people take can prevent cancer.

Activase

Tissue plasminogen activator (abbreviated TPA or PLAT) is a protein involved in the breakdown of blood clots. It is a serine protease (EC 3.4.21.68) found on endothelial cells, the cells that line the blood vessels. As an enzyme, it catalyzes the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin, the major enzyme responsible for clot breakdown. Because it works on the clotting system, tPA is used in clinical medicine to treat only embolic or thrombotic stroke. Use is contraindicated in hemorrhagic stroke and head trauma.

Acute erythroid/lymphocytic leukemia

Acute erythroid leukemia (or "acute Di Guglielmo syndrome") is a rare form of acute myeloid leukemia where the myeloproliferation is of erythroblastic precursors.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), is a form of leukemia, or cancer of the white blood cells characterized by excess lymphoblasts.

Malignant, immature white blood cells continuously multiply and are overproduced in the bone marrow. ALL causes damage and death by crowding out normal cells in the bone marrow, and by spreading (infiltrating) to other organs. ALL is most common in childhood with a peak incidence at 2–5 years of age, and another peak in old age. The overall cure rate in children is about 80%, and about 45%-60% of adults have long-term disease-free survival.

Acute myelogenous/myeloid/nonlymphocytic leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), also known as acute myelogenous leukemia, is a cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells, characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells. AML is the most common acute leukemia affecting adults, and its incidence increases with age. Although AML is a relatively rare disease, accounting for approximately 1.2% of cancer deaths in the United States, its incidence is expected to increase as the population ages.

Adderall

Adderall is a brand-name psychostimulant medication composed of racemic amphetamine aspartate monohydrate, racemic amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharide, and dextroamphetamine sulfate, which is thought by scientists to work by increasing the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. In addition, the drug also acts as a potent dopamine reuptake inhibitor and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Adderall is widely reported to increase alertness, increase libido, increase concentration and overall cognitive performance, and, in general, improve mood, while decreasing user fatigue. It is available in two formulations: IR (Instant Release) and XR (Extended Release). The immediate release formulation is indicated for use in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, while the XR formulation is approved for use only with ADHD.

Adenocarcinoma

Adenocarcinoma is a cancer of an epithelium that originates in glandular tissue. Epithelial tissue includes, but is not limited to, the surface layer of skin, glands and a variety of other tissue that lines the cavities and organs of the body. Epithelium can be derived embryologically from ectoderm, endoderm or mesoderm. To be classified as adenocarcinoma, the cells do not necessarily need to be part of a gland, as long as they have excretory properties. This form of carcinoma can occur in some higher mammals, including humans. Well differentiated adenocarcinomas tend to resemble the glandular tissue that they are derived from, while poorly differentiated adenocarcinomas may not. By staining the cells from a biopsy, a pathologist can determine whether the tumor is an adenocarcinoma or some other type of cancer. Adenocarcinomas can arise in many tissues of the body due to the ubiquitous nature of glands within the body. While each gland may not be excreting the same substance, as long as there is an exocrine function to the cell, it is considered glandular and its malignant form is therefore named adenocarcinoma. Endocrine gland tumors, such as a VIPoma, an insulinoma, a pheochromocytoma, etc, are typically not referred to as adenocarcinomas, but rather, are often called neuroendocrine tumors. If the glandular tissue is abnormal, but benign, it is said to be an adenoma. Benign adenomas typically do not invade other tissue and rarely metastasize. Malignant adenocarcinomas invade other tissues and often metastasize given enough time to do so.

Adenoid cystic cancer

Adenoid cystic cancer (AdCC) is a rare type of cancer that can exist in many different body sites. It most often occurs in the areas of the head and neck, in particular the salivary glands; but has also been reported in the breast, lacrimal gland of the eye, lung, brain, bartholin gland, trachea, and the paranasal sinuses. It is sometimes referred to as adenocyst, malignant cylindroma, adenocystic, adenoidcystic, ACC, AdCC.

Adenoma

An adenoma is a benign tumor (-oma) of glandular origin. Adenomas can grow from many organs including the colon, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, thyroid, etc. Although these growths are benign, over time they may progress to become malignant, at which point they are called adenocarcinomas. Even while benign, they have the potential to cause serious health complications by compressing other structures (mass effect) and by producing large amounts of hormones in an unregulated, non-feedback-dependent manner (paraneoplastic syndrome).

Adenopathy

Lymphadenopathy is a term meaning "disease of the lymph nodes." It is, however, almost synonymously used with "swollen/enlarged lymph nodes". It could be due to infection, auto-immune disease, or malignancy.

Adenosine triphosphate

Adenosine-5'-triphosphate (ATP) is a multifunctional nucleotide used in cells as a coenzyme. It is often called the "molecular unit of currency" of intracellular energy transfer. ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism. It is produced by photophosphorylation and cellular respiration and used by enzymes and structural proteins in many cellular processes, including biosynthetic reactions, motility, and cell division. One molecule of ATP contains three phosphate groups, and it is produced by ATP synthase from inorganic phosphate and adenosine diphosphate (ADP) or adenosine monophosphate (AMP).

Adenovirus

Adenoviruses are medium-sized (90–100 nm), nonenveloped (naked) icosahedral viruses composed of a nucleocapsid and a double-stranded linear DNA genome. There are 55 described serotypes in humans, which are responsible for 5–10% of upper respiratory infections in children, and many infections in adults as well.

Adjuvant therapy

An adjuvant (from Latin, adiuvare: to aid) is a pharmacological or immunological agent that modifies the effect of other agents (e.g., drugs, vaccines) while having few if any direct effects when given by itself. They are often included in vaccines to enhance the recipient's immune response to a supplied antigen while keeping the injected foreign material at a minimum.

Adrenocortical

Situated along the perimeter of the adrenal gland, the adrenal cortex mediates the stress response through the production of mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids, including aldosterone and cortisol respectively. It is also a secondary site of androgen synthesis.

Adriamycin

Doxorubicin (INN, trade name Adriamycin; also known as hydroxydaunorubicin) is a drug used in cancer chemotherapy. It is an anthracycline antibiotic, closely related to the natural product daunomycin, and like all anthracyclines, it works by intercalating DNA.

Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma

Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) is a rare cancer of the immune system's own T-cells. Human T cell leukemia/lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is believed to be the cause of it, in addition to several other diseases.

Aerobic metabolism

Cellular respiration is the set of the metabolic reactions and processes that take place in the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products. The reactions involved in respiration are catabolic reactions that involve the redox reaction (oxidation of one molecule and the reduction of another). Respiration is one of the key ways a cell gains useful energy to fuel cellular reformations.

Aerobic respiration

Cellular respiration is the set of the metabolic reactions and processes that take place in the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products. The reactions involved in respiration are catabolic reactions that involve the redox reaction (oxidation of one molecule and the reduction of another). Respiration is one of the key ways a cell gains useful energy to fuel cellular reformations.

Aflatoxin

Aflatoxins are naturally occurring mycotoxins that are produced by many species of Aspergillus, a fungus, most notably Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aflatoxins are toxic and among the most carcinogenic substances known. After entering the body, aflatoxins may be metabolized by the liver to a reactive epoxide intermediate or be hydroxylated and become the less harmful aflatoxin M1.

AFP

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP, α-fetoprotein; also sometimes called alpha-1-fetoprotein or alpha-fetoglobulin) is a protein that in humans is encoded by the AFP gene.

This gene encodes alpha-fetoprotein, a major plasma protein produced by the yolk sac and the liver during fetal life. The protein is thought to be the fetal counterpart of serum albumin, and the alpha-fetoprotein and albumin genes are present in tandem on chromosome 4. Alpha-fetoprotein is found in monomeric as well as dimeric and trimeric forms, and binds copper, nickel, fatty acids and bilirubin.

AG013736

Axitinib (also known as AG013736) is a small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor under development by Pfizer. It inhibits multiple targets, including VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2, VEGFR-3, platelet derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR), and cKIT (CD117). It has been shown to significantly inhibit growth of breast cancer in xenograft models and has been successful in trials with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and several other tumor types.

AG337

Nolatrexed is a thymidylate synthase inhibitor.

Agent study

An agent study is a part of a clinical trial that tests the chemotherapeutic properties of a specific substance. More specifically, an agent study is used to detect whether or not a substance can prevent or inhibit cancer. In a clinical trial, researchers perform multiple studies in order to test the potential of new cancer drugs. An agent study helps determine the potential of a substance to inhibit cancer, before more studies are done in order to further knowledge of this potential.

Agglutinin

An agglutinin is a substance that causes particles to coagulate to form a thickened mass. Agglutinins can be antibodies that cause antigens to aggregate by binding to the antigen-binding sites of antibodies. Agglutinins can also be any substance other than antibodies such as sugar-binding protein lectins. Agglutinins work by clumping on particles causing the particles to change from fluid-like state to thickened-mass state. When an agglutinin is added to a uniform suspension of particles such as bacteria or blood, agglutinin binds to the agglutinin-specific structure on the particle causing the particles to aggregate and fall to the bottom leaving a clear suspension. This phenomenon known as agglutination is of great importance to the medical world as it serves as a diagnostic tool.

Aggressive lymphoma

Aggressive lymphoma is a type of lymphoma that grows and spreads quickly, and has severe symptoms. It is seen frequently in patients who are HIV-positive (AIDS-related lymphoma). Also called intermediate-grade lymphoma and high-grade lymphoma.

Agnogenic myeloid metaplasia

Myelofibrosis, also known as myeloid metaplasia, chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis, osteomyelofibrosis and primary myelofibrosis is a disorder of the bone marrow. It is currently classified as a myeloproliferative disease in which the proliferation of an abnormal type of bone marrow stem cell results in fibrosis, or the replacement of the marrow with collagenous connective tissue fibers.

Agonist

An agonist is a chemical that binds to a receptor of a cell and triggers a response by that cell. Agonists often mimic the action of a naturally occurring substance. Whereas an agonist causes an action, an antagonist blocks the action of the agonist and an inverse agonist causes an action opposite to that of the agonist.

Agranulocytosis

Agranulocytosis, also known as Agranulosis or Granulopenia, is an acute condition involving a severe and dangerous leukopenia (lowered white blood cell count), most commonly of neutrophils, causing a neutropenia in the circulating blood. It represents a severe lack of one major class of infection-fighting white blood cells. People with this condition are at very high risk of serious infections due to their suppressed immune system.

AJCC staging system

The AJCC staging system is a classification system developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer for describing the extent of disease progression in cancer patients. It utilizes in part the TNM scoring system: Tumor size, Lymph Nodes affected, Metastases.

Alanine aminopeptidase

Alanine aminopeptidase (EC 3.4.11.2) is an enzyme that is used as a biomarker to detect damage to the kidneys, and that may be used to help diagnose certain kidney disorders. It is found at high levels in the urine when there are kidney problems.

Alanine transferase

Alanine transaminase or ALT is a transaminase enzyme (EC 2.6.1.2). It is also called serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) or alanine aminotransferase (ALAT).

ALT is found in serum and in various bodily tissues, but is most commonly associated with the liver. It catalyzes the two parts of the alanine cycle.

Alanosine

Alanosine (also called SDX-102) is a substance that is being studied for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. It is an antimetabolite. It is used as one of a few experimental treatments for patients with deadly pancreatic cancer when the main chemotherapeutic treatment regimen of gemcitabine is no longer useful.

Aldesleukin

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is an interleukin, a type of cytokine immune system signaling molecule, which is a leukocytotrophic hormone that is instrumental in the body's natural response to microbial infection and in discriminating between foreign (non-self) and self. IL-2 mediates its effects by binding to IL-2 receptors, which are expressed by lymphocytes, the cells that are responsible for immunity.

Alemtuzumab

Alemtuzumab (marketed as Campath, MabCampath or Campath-1H) is a monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) and T-cell lymphoma. It is also used in some conditioning regimens for bone marrow transplantation and kidney transplantation.

Alendronate sodium

Alendronic acid (INN) or alendronate sodium (USAN, sold as Fosamax by Merck) is a bisphosphonate drug used for osteoporosis and several other bone diseases. It is marketed alone as well as in combination with vitamin D (2,800 U and 5600 U, under the name Fosamax+D). Merck's U.S. patent on alendronate expired in 2008 and Merck lost a series of appeals to block a generic version of the drug from being certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Alkalinization/Alkylating agent

Alkylating agents are classified according to their nucleophilic or electrophilic character. Nucleophilic alkylating agents deliver the equivalent of an alkyl anion (carbanion). Electrophilic alkylating agents deliver the equivalent of an alkyl cation. Carbenes are extremely reactive and are known to attack even unactivated C-H bonds.

ALL

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), is a form of leukemia, or cancer of the white blood cells characterized by excess lymphoblasts. Malignant, immature white blood cells continuously multiply and are overproduced in the bone marrow. ALL causes damage and death by crowding out normal cells in the bone marrow, and by spreading (infiltrating) to other organs. ALL is most common in childhood with a peak incidence at 2–5 years of age, and another peak in old age. The overall cure rate in children is about 80%, and about 45%-60% of adults have long-term disease-free survival.

All-trans retinoic acid

Tretinoin is the acid form of vitamin A and is also known as all-trans retinoic acid or ATRA. It is a drug commonly used to treat acne vulgaris and keratosis pilaris. It is available as a cream or gel (brand names Aberela, Airol, Renova, Atralin, Retin-A, Avita, or Stieva-A). It is also used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), and is sold for this indication by Roche under the brand name Vesanoid. It is also available as a generic.

Allogeneic

Allotransplantation (allo- from the Greek meaning "other") is the transplantation of cells, tissues, or organs, sourced from a genetically non-identical member of the same species as the recipient. The transplant is called an allograft or allogeneic transplant or homograft. Most human tissue and organ transplants are allografts.

Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation

Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation is a procedure in which a person receives stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) from a genetically similar, but not identical, donor.

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation is a procedure in which a person receives blood-forming stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) from a genetically similar, but not identical, donor. This is often a sister or brother, but could be an unrelated donor. Stem cells can be harvested from a newborns umbilical cord.

Allogenic

Allopurinol

In ecology, allogenic succession is succession driven by the abiotic components of an ecosystem. In contrast, autogenic succession is driven by the biotic components of the ecosystem.

Allovectin-7

Allovectin-7 is a substance that is being studied as a gene therapy agent in the treatment of cancer, such as malignant melanoma. It is a plasmid/lipid complex containing the DNA sequences encoding HLA-B7 and ß2 microglobulin - two components of major histocompatibility complex (MHC, class I). It increases the ability of the immune system to recognize cancer cells and kill them.

Aloe-emodin

Aloe emodin is an anthraquinone present in aloe latex, an exudate from the aloe plant. It has a strong stimulant-laxative action.

Alopecia

Alopecia means loss of hair from the head or body. This includes baldness, a term generally reserved for pattern alopecia or androgenic alopecia. Alopecia can also be caused by compulsive pulling of hair (trichotillomania). It can also be the consequence of hairstyling routines such as ponytails or braids, or due to hair relaxer solutions, and hot hair irons. In some cases, alopecia is due to underlying medical conditions, such as iron deficiency.

Alteplase

Tissue plasminogen activator (abbreviated TPA or PLAT) is a protein involved in the breakdown of blood clots. It is a serine protease (EC 3.4.21.68) found on endothelial cells, the cells that line the blood vessels. As an enzyme, it catalyzes the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin, the major enzyme responsible for clot breakdown. Because it works on the clotting system, tPA is used in clinical medicine to treat only embolic or thrombotic stroke. Use is contraindicated in hemorrhagic stroke and head trauma.

Altretamine

Altretamine (also hexalen) is an anti-neoplastic agent. It was approved by the FDA in 1990.

Aluminium sulfate

Aluminium sulfate, alternatively spelt aluminum sulfate, aluminium sulphate, or aluminum sulphate; is a chemical compound with the formula Al2(SO4)3. Aluminium sulfate is mainly used as a flocculating agent in the purification of drinking water and waste water treatment plants, and also in paper manufacturing.

ALVAC-CEA vaccine

ALVAC-CEA vaccine is a cancer vaccine containing a canary pox virus (ALVAC) combined with the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) human gene. A phase I trial in 118 patients showed safety in humans.

Amanita phalloides

Amanita phalloides, commonly known as the death cap, is a deadly poisonous basidiomycete fungus, one of many in the genus Amanita. Widely distributed across Europe, A. phalloides forms ectomycorrhizas with various broadleaved trees. In some cases, death cap has been accidentally introduced to new regions with the cultivation of non-native species of oak, chestnut, and pine. The large fruiting bodies (mushrooms) appear in summer and autumn; the caps are generally greenish in color, with a white stipe and gills.

Ambien

Zolpidem is a prescription medication used for the short-term treatment of insomnia, as well as some brain disorders. It is a short-acting nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic that potentiates gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter, by binding to GABAA receptors at the same location as benzodiazepines. It works quickly (usually within 15 minutes) and has a short half-life (2–3 hours). Trade names of zolpidem include Adormix, Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, Zolpimist, Damixan, Hypnogen, Ivedal, Lioran, Myslee, Nasen, Nytamel, Sanval, Somidem, Stilnoct, Stilnox, Stilnox CR, Sucedal, Zodorm, Zoldem, Zolnod, Zolnox (in South Africa), Zolpihexal and Zolsana.

Amelanotic melanoma

Amelanotic melanoma is a type of skin cancer in which the cells do not make melanin.

Amifostine

Amifostine is a cytoprotective adjuvant used in cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy involving DNA-binding chemotherapeutic agents. It is marketed by MedImmune under the trade name Ethyol.

Amikacin

Amikacin is an aminoglycoside antibiotic used to treat different types of bacterial infections. Amikacin works by binding to the bacterial 30S ribosomal subunit, causing misreading of mRNA and leaving the bacterium unable to synthesize proteins vital to its growth.

Aminoglutethimide

Aminoglutethimide is an anti-steroid drug marketed under the tradename Cytadren by Novartis around the world. It blocks the production of steroids derived from cholesterol and is clinically used in the treatment of Cushing's syndrome and metastatic breast cancer. It is also used by body builders.

Aminoglycoside antibiotic

An aminoglycoside is a molecule or a portion of a molecule composed of amino-modified sugars. Several aminoglycosides function as antibiotics that are effective against certain types of bacteria. They include amikacin, arbekacin, gentamicin, kanamycin, neomycin, netilmicin, paromomycin, rhodostreptomycin, streptomycin, tobramycin, and apramycin.

Aminolevulinic acid

δ-Aminolevulinic acid (dALA or δ-ALA or 5ala or 5-aminolevulinic acid) is the first compound in the porphyrin synthesis pathway, the pathway that leads to heme in mammals and chlorophyll in plants.

In plants, production of δ-ALA is the step on which the speed of synthesis of chlorophyll is regulated. Plants that are fed by external δ-ALA accumulate toxic amounts of chlorophyll precursor, protochlorophyllide, indicating that the synthesis of this intermediate is not suppressed anywhere downwards in the chain of reaction. Protochlorophyllide is a strong photosensitizer in plants.

Aminopterin

Aminopterin (4-aminopteroic acid), a 4-amino analog of folic acid, is an antineoplastic drug with immunosuppressive properties used in chemotherapy. Aminopterin is a synthetic derivative of pterin. Aminopterin works as an enzyme inhibitor by competing for the folate binding site of the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase. Its binding affinity for dihydrofolate reductase effectively blocks tetrahydrofolate synthesis. This results in the depletion of nucleotide precursors and inhibition of DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis.

Amonafide

Amonafide (originally AS1413) (INN, trade name Quinamed) is a drug that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors and DNA intercalators.

Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin (INN), formerly amoxycillin (BAN), tormoxin (in India), amoxycillin (cilamox) in Australia, abbreviated amox, is a moderate-spectrum, bacteriolytic, β-lactam antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections caused by susceptible microorganisms. It is usually the drug of choice within the class because it is better absorbed, following oral administration, than other β-lactam antibiotics.

Amphotericin B

Amphotericin B (Fungilin, Fungizone, Abelcet, AmBisome, Fungisome, Amphocil, Amphotec) is a polyene antifungal drug, often used intravenously for systemic fungal infections. It was originally extracted from Streptomyces nodosus, a filamentous bacterium, in 1955 at the Squibb Institute for Medical Research from cultures of an undescribed streptomycete isolated from the soil collected in the Orinoco River region of Venezuela. Its name originates from the chemical's amphoteric properties. Two amphotericins, amphotericin A and amphotericin B are known, but only B is used clinically, because it is significantly more active in vivo. Amphotericin A is almost identical to amphotericin B (having a double C=C bond between the 27th and 28th carbon), but has little antifungal activity. Currently, the drug is available as plain amphotericin B, as a cholesteryl sulfate complex, as a lipid complex, and as a liposomal formulation. The latter formulations have been developed to improve tolerability for the patient, but may show considerably different pharmacokinetic characteristics compared to plain amphotericin B.

Ampulla

An ampulla (plural "ampullae") was, in Ancient Rome, a "small nearly globular flask or bottle, with two handles" (OED). The word is used of these in archaeology, and of later flasks, often handle-less and much flatter, for holy water or holy oil in the Middle Ages, often bought as souvenirs of pilgrimages, such as the metal Monza ampullae of the 6th century. Materials include glass, ceramics and metal. Unguentarium is a term for a bottle believed to have been used to store perfume, and there is considerable overlap between the two terms, one defined by shape and the other by purpose.

Ampulla of Vater

The ampulla of Vater, also known as the hepatopancreatic ampulla, is formed by the union of the pancreatic duct and the common bile duct. The ampulla is specifically located at the major duodenal papilla.

Amputation

Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for such problems. A special case is the congenital amputation, a congenital disorder, where foetal limbs have been cut off by constrictive bands. In some countries, amputation of the hands or feet is or was used as a form of punishment for people who committed crimes. Amputation has also been used as a tactic in war and acts of terrorism; it may also occur as a war injury. In some cultures and religions, minor amputations or mutilations are considered a ritual accomplishment. Unlike some non-mammalian animals (such as lizards that shed their tails, salamanders that can regrow many missing body parts, and hydras, flatworms, and starfish that can regrow entire bodies from small fragments), once removed, human extremities do not grow back, unlike portions of some organs, such as the liver. A transplant or a prosthesis are the only options for recovering the loss.

Amsacrine

Amsacrine is an antineoplastic agent. It has been used in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Amylase

Amylase is an enzyme that catalyses the breakdown of starch into sugar. Amylase is present in human saliva, where it begins the chemical process of digestion. Foods that contain much starch but little sugar, such as rice and potato, taste slightly sweet as they are chewed because amylase turns some of their starch into sugar in the mouth. The pancreas also makes amylase (alpha amylase) to hydrolyse dietary starch into disaccharides and trisaccharides which are converted by other enzymes to glucose to supply the body with energy. Plants and some bacteria also produce amylase. As diastase, amylase was the first enzyme to be discovered and isolated (by Anselme Payen in 1833). Specific amylase proteins are designated by different Greek letters. All amylases are glycoside hydrolases and act on α-1,4-glycosidic bonds.

Amyloidosis

In medicine, amyloidosis refers to a variety of conditions in which amyloid proteins are abnormally deposited in organs and/or tissues. A protein is described as being amyloid if, due to an alteration in its secondary structure, it takes on a particular aggregated insoluble form similar to the beta-pleated sheet. Symptoms vary widely depending upon the site of amyloid deposition. Amyloidosis may be inherited or acquired.

Anagrelide

Anagrelide (Agrylin/Xagrid, Shire) is a drug used for the treatment of essential thrombocytosis (ET; essential thrombocythemia), or overproduction of blood platelets. It also has been used in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia.

Anakinra

Anakinra (brand name Kineret) is a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Anaphylactic shock

Anaphylactic shock is anaphylaxis associated with systemic vasodilation that results in low blood pressure. It is also associated with severe bronchoconstriction to the point where the individual is unable to breathe.

Anaplastic

Anaplasia refers to a reversion of differentiation in cells and is characteristic of malignant neoplasms (tumors). Sometimes, the term also includes an increased capacity for multiplication. Lack of differentiation is considered a hallmark of malignancy. The term anaplasia literally means "to form backward". It implies dedifferentiation, or loss of structural and functional differentiation of normal cells. It is now known, however, that at least some cancers arise from stem cells in tissues; in these tumors failure of differentiation, rather than dedifferentiation of specialized cells, account for undifferentiated tumors.

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma

Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that features in the World Health Organisation (WHO) classification of lymphomas. Its name derives from anaplasia and large-cell lymphoma.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer

Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is a form of thyroid cancer which has a very poor prognosis (14% ten-year survival rate) due to its aggressive behavior and resistance to cancer treatments.

Anastomosis

An anastomosis (plural anastomoses, communicating opening) in a network of streams is the reconnection of two streams that previously branched out, such as blood vessels or leaf veins. The term is used in medicine, biology, mycology and geology. The term is also used in anthropology to refer to a certain concept of culture.

Anastrozole

Anastrozole (INN) marketed under the trade name Arimidex by AstraZeneca, is a drug used to treat breast cancer after surgery and for metastases in both pre and post-menopausal women. Anastrozole is an aromatase inhibitor, which means that it interrupts a critical step in the body's synthesis of estrogen. Some breast cancer cells require estrogen to grow, and eliminating estrogen suppresses their growth. Annual sales approx $2.2bn. The first patent for Arimidex expired in June 2010. Although this patent was originally set to expire in December 2009, the manufacturer was given an extension for performing much needed pediatric studies.

Androgen

Androgen, also called androgenic hormone or testoid, is the generic term for any natural or synthetic compound, usually a steroid hormone, that stimulates or controls the development and maintenance of male characteristics in vertebrates by binding to androgen receptors. This includes the activity of the accessory male sex organs and development of male secondary sex characteristics. Androgens were first discovered in 1936. Androgens are also the original anabolic steroids and the precursor of all estrogens, the female sex hormones. The primary and most well-known androgen is testosterone.

Androgen ablation/suppression

Androgen suppression, also called androgen ablation or androgen deprivation, is a medical treatment to suppress or block the production or action of male sex hormones, typically in order to attempt to treat certain types of cancer that rely upon male hormones for its growth. This is done by having the testicles removed, by taking female sex hormones, or by taking drugs called antiandrogens.

Anecdotal report

The expression anecdotal evidence has two distinct meanings.

(1) Evidence in the form of an anecdote or hearsay is called anecdotal if there is doubt about its veracity; the evidence itself is considered untrustworthy.

(2) Evidence, which may itself be true and verifiable, used to deduce a conclusion which does not follow from it, usually by generalizing from an insufficient amount of evidence. For example "my grandfather smoked like a chimney and died healthy in a car crash at the age of 99" does not disprove the proposition that "smoking markedly increases the probability of cancer and heart disease at a relatively early age". In this case, the evidence may itself be true, but does not warrant the conclusion.

Anemia

Anemia is a decrease in number of red blood cells (RBCs) or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. However, it can include decreased oxygen-binding ability of each hemoglobin molecule due to deformity or lack in numerical development as in some other types of hemoglobin deficiency.

Anetholtrithione

Anethole trithione, anetholtrithione, or anetholtrithion (JAN) is a drug used in the treatment of dry mouth. It is listed in the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Dictionary of Cancer Terms as being studied in the treatment of cancer.

Angelica root

Angelica archangelica, commonly known as Garden Angelica, Holy Ghost, Wild Celery, and Norwegian angelica, is a biennial plant from the Apiaceae family Apiaceae family, formerly known as Umbelleferae. Synonyms include Archangelica officinalis Hoffm., and Archangelica officinalis var. himalaica C.B.Clarke).

Angiogenesis

Angiogenesis is the physiological process involving the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. Though there has been some debate over terminology, vasculogenesis is the term used for spontaneous blood-vessel formation, and intussusception is the term for new blood vessel formation by splitting off existing ones.

Angiogenesis inhibitor

An angiogenesis inhibitor is a substance that inhibits angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels). It can be endogenous or come from outside as drug or a dietary component. Every solid tumor (in contrast to liquid tumors like leukemia) needs to generate blood vessels to keep it alive once it reaches a certain size. Usually, blood vessels are not built elsewhere in an adult body unless tissue repair is actively in process.

Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma

Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AILT) (also known as "Angioimmunoblastic lymphadenopathy with dysproteinemia" is a mature T-cell lymphoma with systemic characterized by a polymorphous lymph node infiltrate showing a marked increase in follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) and high endothelial venules (HEVs) and systemic involvement. It is also known as immunoblastic lymphadenopathy (Lukes-Collins Classification) and AILD-type (lymphogranulomatosis X) T-cell lymphoma (Kiel Classification).

Angiosarcoma

Angiosarcoma is a malignant neoplasm of endothelial type cells that line vessel walls. This may be in reference to blood (haemangiosarcoma) or lymphatic vessels (lymphangiosarcoma). Their location typically readily permits metastases to distant sites. Most tumours of visceral blood and lymphatic vessel walls are malignant. Haemangiosarcomas and lymphangiosarcomas of the skin are not common.

Angiostatin

Angiostatin is a naturally occurring protein found in several animal species, including humans. It is an endogenous angiogenesis inhibitor (i.e., it blocks the growth of new blood vessels), and it is currently undergoing clinical trials for its use in anticancer therapy.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor

ACE inhibitors or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are a group of drugs used primarily for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and congestive heart failure. Originally synthesized from compounds found in pit viper venom, they inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), a component of the blood pressure-regulating renin-angiotensin system.

Anhydrovinblastine

Vinorelbine (trade name Navelbine) is an anti-mitotic chemotherapy drug that is given as a treatment for some types of cancer, including breast cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.

Anidulafungin

Anidulafungin or Eraxis (Ecalta in Europe) is an anti-fungal drug originally manufactured and submitted for FDA approval by Vicuron Pharmaceuticals. Pfizer acquired the drug upon its acquisition of Vicuron in the fall of 2005. Pfizer gained approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on February 21, 2006; it was previously known as LY303366. There is preliminary evidence that it has a similar safety profile to caspofungin. It has proven efficacy against oesophageal candidiasis, but its main utility will probably be in invasive Candida infection; it will probably also have application in treating invasive Aspergillus infection. It is a member of the class of anti-fungal drugs known as the echinocandins: its mechanism of action is by inhibition of (1→3)β-D-glucan synthase, which is an important component of the fungal cell wall.

Animal model

An animal model is a living, non-human animal used during the research and investigation of human disease, for the purpose of better understanding the disease without the added risk of causing harm to an actual human being during the process. The animal chosen will usually meet a determined taxonomic equivalency to humans, so as to react to disease or its treatment in a way that resembles human physiology as needed. Many drugs, treatments and cures for human diseases have been developed with the use of animal models. Animal models representing specific taxonomic groups in the research and study of developmental processes are also referred to as model organisms. There are three main types of animal models Homologous, Isomorphic and predictive. Homologous animals have the same causes, symptoms and treatment options as would humans who have the same disease. Isomorphic animals share the same symptoms and treatments. This is the principle research tool. Predictive models are when the animals strictly display only the treatment characteristics of a disease. This method is commonly used when researchers do not know the cause of a disease. It is also useful in screening.

Annamycin

Annamycin is an anthracycline antibiotic being investigated for the treatment of cancer.

Anorexia

Anorexia (deriving from the Greek "α(ν)-" (a(n)-, a prefix that denotes absence) + "όρεξη" (orexe) = appetite) is the decreased sensation of appetite. While the term in non-scientific publications is often used interchangeably with anorexia nervosa, many possible causes exist for a decreased appetite, some of which may be harmless, while others indicate a serious clinical condition, or pose a significant risk.

Ansamycin

Ansamycins is a family of secondary metabolites that show antimicrobial activity against many gram-positive and some gram-negative bacteria and includes various compounds, among which: streptovaricins and rifamycins. In addition, these compounds demonstrate antiviral activity towards bacteriophages and poxviruses.

Antagonist

A receptor antagonist is a type of receptor ligand or drug that does not provoke a biological response itself upon binding to a receptor, but blocks or dampens agonist-mediated responses. In pharmacology, antagonists have affinity but no efficacy for their cognate receptors, and binding will disrupt the interaction and inhibit the function of an agonist or inverse agonist at receptors. Antagonists mediate their effects by binding to the active site or to allosteric sites on receptors, or they may interact at unique binding sites not normally involved in the biological regulation of the receptor's activity. Antagonist activity may be reversible or irreversible depending on the longevity of the antagonist–receptor complex, which, in turn, depends on the nature of antagonist receptor binding. The majority of drug antagonists achieve their potency by competing with endogenous ligands or substrates at structurally-defined binding sites on receptors. Because antagonists often disrupt the normal connectivity between neurons, their long-term, chronic use has been linked to neuronal death and very strong antagonists can be considered to be toxic.

Anterior mediastinotomy

Mediastinoscopy is a procedure that enables visualization of the contents of the mediastinum, usually for the purpose of obtaining a biopsy. Mediastinoscopy is often used for staging of lymph nodes of lung cancer or for diagnosing other conditions affecting structures in the mediastinum such as sarcoidosis or lymphoma.

Anterior mediastinum

The anterior mediastinum exists only on the left side where the left pleura diverges from the mid-sternal line.

Anthracenedione/Anthracycline/Anthraquinone

Anthraquinone, also called anthracenedione or dioxoanthracene is an aromatic organic compound with formula C14H8O2, that can be viewed as a diketone derivative of anthracene (with loss of one of the central pi-bonds in the anthracene).

The term usually refers to one specific isomer, 9,10-anthraquinone or 9,10-dioxoanthracene, whose ketone groups are on the central ring. This compound is an important member of the quinone family. It is a building block of many dyes and is industrially used in bleaching pulp for papermaking. It is a yellow highly crystalline solid, poorly soluble in water but soluble in hot organic solvents. For instance, it is almost completely insoluble in ethanol near room temperature but 2.25 g will dissolve in 100 g of boiling ethanol.

Anti-CEA antibody

An anti-CEA antibody is an antibody against the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a protein present on certain types of cancer cells.

Anti-idiotype vaccine

Anti-idiotypic vaccines comprise antibodies that have three-dimensional immunogenic regions, designated idiotopes, that consist of protein sequences that bind to cell receptors. Idiotopes are aggregated into idiotypes specific of their target antigen.

Anti-inflammatory

Anti-inflammatory refers to the property of a substance or treatment that reduces inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs make up about half of analgesics, remedying pain by reducing inflammation as opposed to opioids which affect the central nervous system.

Antiandrogen/Antiandrogen therapy

An antiandrogen, or androgen antagonist, is any of a group of hormone receptor antagonist compounds that are capable of preventing or inhibiting the biologic effects of androgens, male sex hormones, on normally responsive tissues in the body. Antiandrogens usually work by blocking the appropriate receptors, competing for binding sites on the cell's surface, obstructing the androgens' pathway.

Anti-angiogenesis/Antiangiogenic

An angiogenesis inhibitor is a substance that inhibits angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels). It can be endogenous or come from outside as drug or a dietary component. Every solid tumor (in contrast to liquid tumors like leukemia) needs to generate blood vessels to keep it alive once it reaches a certain size. Usually, blood vessels are not built elsewhere in an adult body unless tissue repair is actively in process.

Antibody

An antibody also known as an immunoglobulin is a large Y-shaped protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects like bacteria and viruses. The antibody recognizes a unique part of the foreign target, termed an antigen. Each tip of the "Y" of an antibody contains a paratope (a structure analogous to a lock) that is specific for one particular epitope (that is equivalent to a key) on an antigen, allowing these two structures to bind together with precision. Using this binding mechanism, an antibody can tag a microbe or an infected cell for attack by other parts of the immune system, or can neutralize its target directly (for example, by blocking a part of a microbe that is essential for its invasion and survival). The production of antibodies is the main function of the humoral immune system.

Antibody therapy

Monoclonal antibody therapy is the use of monoclonal antibodies (or mAb) to specifically bind to target cells. This may then stimulate the patient's immune system to attack those cells. It is possible to create a mAb specific to almost any extracellular/ cell surface target, and thus there is a large amount of research and development currently being undergone to create monoclonals for numerous serious diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and different types of cancers). There are a number of ways that mAbs can be used for therapy. For example: mAb therapy can be used to destroy malignant tumor cells and prevent tumor growth by blocking specific cell receptors. Variations also exist within this treatment, e.g. radioimmunotherapy, where a radioactive dose localizes on target cell line, delivering lethal chemical doses to the target.

Anticachexia

Anticachexia is a drug or effect that works against cachexia (loss of body weight and muscle mass).

Anticancer antibiotic

Antineoplastic drugs inhibit and combat the development of cancer. In the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System, they are classified under L01.

Anticarcinogenic

An anticarcinogen is any chemical which reduces the occurrence of cancers, reduces the severity of cancers that do occur, or acts against cancers that do occur, based on evidence from in vitro studies, animal models, epidemiological studies and/or clinical studies.

Anticoagulant

An anticoagulant is a substance that prevents coagulation; that is, it stops blood from clotting. A group of pharmaceuticals called anticoagulants can be used in vivo as a medication for thrombotic disorders. Some chemical compounds are used in medical equipment, such as test tubes, blood transfusion bags, and renal dialysis equipment.

Anticonvulsant

The anticonvulsants are a diverse group of pharmaceuticals used in the treatment of epileptic seizures. Anticonvulsants are also increasingly being used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, since many seem to act as mood stabilizers. The goal of an anticonvulsant is to suppress the rapid and excessive firing of neurons that start a seizure. Failing this, an effective anticonvulsant would prevent the spread of the seizure within the brain and offer protection against possible excitotoxic effects that may result in brain damage. Some studies have cited that anticonvulsants themselves are linked to lowered IQ in children. However these studies may be moot given the significant risk epileptiform seizures pose to children and the distinct possibility of death and devastating neurological sequela secondary to seizures. Anticonvulsants are more accurately called antiepileptic drugs (abbreviated "AEDs"), sometimes referred to as antiseizure drugs. While an anticonvulsant is a fair description of AEDs, it neglects to differentiate the difference between convulsions and epilepsy. Convulsive non-epileptic seizures are quite common and these types of seizures will not have any response to an antiepileptic drug. In epilepsy an area of the cortex is typically hyperirritable that can often be confirmed by completing an EEG. Antiepileptic drugs function to help reduce this area of irritability and thus prevent epileptiform seizures.

Antidepressant

An antidepressant is a psychiatric medication used to alleviate mood disorders, such as major depression and dysthymia and anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder. According to Gelder, Mayou &*Geddes (2005) people with a depressive illness will experience a therapeutic effect to their mood, however this will not be experienced in healthy individuals. Drugs including the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are most commonly associated with the term. These medications are among those most commonly prescribed by psychiatrists and other physicians, and their effectiveness and adverse effects are the subject of many studies and competing claims. Many drugs produce an antidepressant effect, but restrictions on their use have caused controversy and off-label prescription a risk, despite claims of superior efficacy.

Antiemetic

An antiemetic is a drug that is effective against vomiting and nausea. Antiemetics are typically used to treat motion sickness and the side effects of opioid analgesics, general anaesthetics, and chemotherapy directed against cancer.

Antiestrogen

An antiestrogen is a substance that blocks the production or utilization of estrogens, or inhibiting estrogens effects. (Estrogens are the family of hormones that promote the development and maintenance of female sex characteristics. Antiestrogens like tamoxifen can promote an invasive phenotype in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer cells with deficient intercellular adhesion.

Antifolate

Antifolates are drugs which impair the function of folic acids. Many are used in cancer chemotherapy, some are used as antibiotics or antiprotozoal agents. A well known example is methotrexate. This is a folic acid analogue, and owing to structural similarity with it binds and inhibits the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), and thus prevents the formation of tetrahydrofolate. Tetrahydrofolate is essential for purine and pyrimidine synthesis, and this leads to inhibited production of DNA, RNA and proteins (as tetrahydrofolate is also involved in the synthesis of amino acids serine and methionine).

Antifungal

An antifungal drug is a medication used to treat fungal infections such as athlete's foot, ringworm, candidiasis (thrush), serious systemic infections such as cryptococcal meningitis, and others. Such drugs are usually obtained by a doctor's prescription or purchased over-the-counter.

Antigen

An antigen is a substance/molecule that, when introduced into the body, triggers the production of an antibody by the immune system, which will then kill or neutralize the antigen that is recognized as a foreign and potentially harmful invader. These invaders can be molecules such as pollen or cells such as bacteria. The term originally came from antibody generator and was a molecule that binds specifically to an antibody, but the term now also refers to any molecule or molecular fragment that can be bound by a major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and presented to a T-cell receptor. "Self" antigens are usually tolerated by the immune system; whereas "Non-self" antigens are identified as intruders and attacked by the immune system. Autoimmune disorders arise from the immune system reacting to its own antigens.

Antigen-presenting cell

An antigen-presenting cell (APC) or accessory cell is a cell that displays foreign antigen complex with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on its surface. T-cells may recognize this complex using their T-cell receptor (TCR). These cells process antigens and present them to T-cells.

Antigen-presenting cell vaccine

An antigen-presenting cell vaccine is a vaccine made of antigens and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Also called APC vaccine.

Antiglobulin test

An antiglobulin test is a diagnostic test to identify antibodies that can bind to the surface of red blood cells or platelets and destroy them. This test is used to diagnose certain blood disorders in which patients make antibodies to their own red blood cells or platelets. It is also used to determine blood type. Also called Coomb's test.

Antihormone therapy

Antihormone therapy is a form of treatment which suppresses selected hormones. This can be done with drugs, radiation, or even surgery. The suppression of certain hormones would be beneficial to the cancer patient, because certain hormones might prompt, or even help the growth of a tumor. Antihormone treatment can be specific to gender as well, such as antiestrogen or antitestosterone therapy. This would be beneficial in cancers relating to the genitals or sex organs.

Antimetabolite

An antimetabolite is a chemical that inhibits the use of a metabolite, which is another chemical that is part of normal metabolism. Such substances are often similar in structure to the metabolite that they interfere with, such as the antifolates that interfere with the use of folic acid. The presence of antimetabolites can have toxic effects on cells, such as halting cell growth and cell division, so these compounds are used as chemotherapy for cancer.

Antimicrotubule agent

An antimicrotubule agent is a type of drug that blocks cell growth by stopping mitosis (cell division). Antimicrotubule agents interfere with microtubules (cellular structures that help move chromosomes during mitosis). They are used to treat cancer.

Antimitotic agent/Antineoplastic/Antineoplastic antibiotic/Antitumor antibiotic

Antineoplastic drugs inhibit and combat the development of cancer. In the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System, they are classified under L01.

Antineoplaston

Antineoplaston (ANP) is a name coined by Stanislaw Burzynski for a group of peptides, derivatives, and mixtures that he uses as an alternative cancer treatment. These compounds are not licensed as drugs but are instead sold and administered by Burzynski as part of clinical trials that he runs at his own establishments, the Burzynski Clinic and the Burzynski Research Institute in Houston, Texas. The clinical efficacy of antineoplastons combinations for various diseases have been the subject of many such trials by Burzynski and his associates, but these have not produced any clear evidence of efficacy. Oncologists have described these studies as flawed, with one doctor stating that they are "scientific nonsense".

Antioxidant

An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions that damage cells. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions. They do this by being oxidized themselves, so antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols, ascorbic acid or polyphenols.

Antiparasitic

Antiparasitics are a class of medications which are indicated for the treatment of parasitic diseases such as nematodes, cestodes, trematodes, infectious protozoa, and amoebas.

Antiretroviral therapy

Antiretroviral drugs are medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV. When several such drugs, typically three or four, are taken in combination, the approach is known as Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, or HAART. The American National Institutes of Health and other organizations recommend offering antiretroviral treatment to all patients with AIDS. Because of the complexity of selecting and following a regimen, the severity of the side-effects and the importance of compliance to prevent viral resistance, such organizations emphasize the importance of involving patients in therapy choices, and recommend analyzing the risks and the potential benefits to patients with low viral loads.

Antithymocyte globulin

Anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) is an infusion of horse or rabbit-derived antibodies against human T cells which is used in the prevention and treatment of acute rejection in organ transplantation and therapy of aplastic anemia.

Antituberculosis

Tuberculosis , MTB or TB (short for tubercles bacillus) is a common and in some cases deadly infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis in humans. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have active MTB infection cough, sneeze, or spit. Most infections in humans result in an asymptomatic, latent infection, and about one in ten latent infections eventually progresses to active disease, which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of its victims.

Antiviral drug

Antiviral drugs are a class of medication used specifically for treating viral infections. Like antibiotics for bacteria, specific antivirals are used for specific viruses. Unlike most antibiotics, antiviral drugs do not destroy their target pathogen; instead they inhibit their development.

Anxiolytic

An anxiolytic (also antipanic or antianxiety agent) is a drug used for the treatment of anxiety, and its related psychological and physical symptoms. Anxiolytics have been shown to be useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Beta-receptor blockers such as propranolol and oxprenolol, although not anxiolytics, can be used to combat the somatic symptoms of anxiety.

APC

Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) also known as deleted in polyposis 2.5 (DP2.5) is a protein that in humans is encoded by the APC gene. Mutations in the APC gene may result in colorectal cancer.

APC vaccine

An antigen-presenting cell vaccine is a vaccine made of antigens and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Also called APC vaccine.

APC8015

Sipuleucel-T (APC8015, Provenge), manufactured by Dendreon Corporation, is a patient specific therapeutic cancer vaccine for prostate cancer (CaP). A therapeutic vaccine is designed to treat the active disease. A preventive vaccine is to cure the condition (usually a virus) causing the cancer. As of 2011 there are two approved prophylactic cancer prevention vaccines. These are for the cancer causing viruses HPV and HBV.

Apheresis

Apheresis (plural aphereses; also spelled aphaeresis, aphæresis; from Ancient Greek ἀφαίρεσις (aphairesis, "a taking away")) is a medical technology in which the blood of a donor or patient is passed through an apparatus that separates out one particular constituent and returns the remainder to the circulation. It is thus an extracorporeal therapy.

Aplastic anemia

Aplastic anemia is a condition where bone marrow does not produce sufficient new cells to replenish blood cells. The condition, per its name, involves both aplasia and anemia. Typically, anemia refers to low red blood cell counts, but aplastic anemia patients have lower counts of all three blood cell types: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, termed pancytopenia.

Aplidine

Aplidine, also known as Dihydrodidemnin B, is a compound extracted from the ascidian Aplidium albicans. It is currently undergoing clinical trial testing.

Apocrine gland

Exocrine glands are glands that secrete their products (excluding hormones and other chemical messengers) into ducts (duct glands) which lead directly into the external environment. They are the counterparts to endocrine glands, which secrete their products (hormones) directly into the bloodstream (ductless glands) or release hormones (paracrines) that affect only target cells nearby the release site.

Apolizumab

Apolizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that is being studied as a treatment for hematologic cancers.

Apoptosis

Apoptosis is the process of programmed cell death (PCD) that may occur in multicellular organisms. Biochemical events lead to characteristic cell changes (morphology) and death. These changes include blebbing, loss of cell membrane asymmetry and attachment, cell shrinkage, nuclear fragmentation, chromatin condensation, and chromosomal DNA fragmentation. (See also Apoptosis DNA fragmentation.) Unlike necrosis, apoptosis produces cell fragments called apoptotic bodies that surrounding cells are able to engulf and quickly remove before the contents of the cell can spill out onto surrounding cells and cause damage.

Appendix

In human anatomy, the appendix (or vermiform appendix; also cecal (or caecal) appendix; also vermix) is a blind-ended tube connected to the cecum (or caecum), from which it develops embryologically. The cecum is a pouchlike structure of the colon. The appendix is located near the junction of the small intestine and the large intestine. The term "vermiform" comes from Latin and means "worm-shaped".

Arctigenin

Arctigenin is a lignan found in certain plants of the Asteraceae, including the Greater burdock (Arctium lappa). It has shown antiviral and anticancer effects. It is the aglycone of arctiin.

Arctiin

Arctiin is a lignan found in many plants of the Asteraceae family, particularly the Greater burdock (Arctium lappa) and Centaurea imperialis, and in Trachelospermum asiaticum and Forsythia viridissima. It is the glucoside of arctigenin. Arctiin and arctigenin have shown anticancer effects.

Aromatase inhibitor

Aromatase inhibitors (AI) are a class of drugs used in the treatment of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women.

Some cancers require estrogen to grow. Aromatase is an enzyme that synthesizes estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors block the synthesis of estrogen. This lowers the estrogen level, and slows the growth of cancers.

Arsenic trioxide

Arsenic trioxide is the inorganic compound with the formula As2O3. This commercially important oxide of arsenic is the main precursor to other arsenic compounds, including organoarsenic compounds. Approximately 50,000 tonnes are produced annually. Many applications are controversial given the high toxicity of arsenic compounds.

Arteriography/Arteriogram

Angiography or arteriography is a medical imaging technique used to the inside, or lumen, of blood vessels and organs of the body, with particular interest in the arteries, veins and the heart chambers. This is traditionally done by injecting a radio-opaque contrast agent into the blood vessel and imaging using X-ray based techniques such as fluoroscopy. The word itself comes from the Greek words angeion, "vessel", and graphein, "to write or record". The film or image of the blood vessels is called an angiograph, or more commonly, an angiogram.

Asbestos

Asbestos (from Greek ἄσβεστος or asbestinon, meaning "unquenchable" or "inextinguishable") is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals exploited commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their asbestiform habit, long, thin fibrous crystals. The inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses, including malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma (a formerly rare cancer strongly associated with exposure to amphibole asbestos), and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis). Long exposure to high concentrations of asbestos fibers is more likely to cause health problems, as asbestos exists in the ambient air at low levels, which itself does not cause health problems. The European Union has banned all use of asbestos and extraction, manufacture and processing of asbestos products.

Ascites

Ascites is a gastroenterological term for an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity. The medical condition is also known as peritoneal cavity fluid, peritoneal fluid excess, hydroperitoneum or more archaically as abdominal dropsy. Although most commonly due to cirrhosis and severe liver disease, its presence can portend other significant medical problems. Diagnosis of the cause is usually with blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the abdomen, and direct removal of the fluid by needle or paracentesis (which may also be therapeutic). Treatment may be with medication (diuretics), paracentesis, or other treatments directed at the cause.

Asparaginase

Asparaginase (EC 3.5.1.1) is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of asparagine to aspartic acid. Asparaginases are naturally occurring enzymes expressed and produced by microorganisms. Different types of asparaginases can be used for different industrial and pharmaceutical purposes. The most common use of asparaginases is as a processing aid in the manufacture of food. Marketed under the brand names Acrylaway and PreventASe, asparaginases are used to reduce the formation of acrylamide, a suspected carcinogen, in starchy food products such as snacks and biscuits.

Aspartate transaminase

Aspartate transaminase (AST) also called serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT) or aspartate aminotransferase (ASAT/AAT/AspAT) (EC 2.6.1.1) is similar to alanine transaminase (ALT) in that it is another enzyme associated with liver parenchymal cells. The difference being; ALT is found predominately in the liver, with clinically negligible quantities found in the kidneys, heart, and skeletal muscle. AST is found in the liver, heart, skeletal muscle, kidneys, brain and red blood cells. As a result ALT is a more specific indicator of liver inflammation than the AST, as AST may also be elevated in diseases affecting other organs, such as the heart or muscles in myocardial infarction, also in acute pancreatitis, acute hemolytic anemia, severe burns, acute renal disease, musculoskeletal diseases, and trauma.

Aspergillosis

Aspergillosis is the name given to a wide variety of diseases caused by fungi of the genus Aspergillus. The most common forms are allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, pulmonary aspergilloma and invasive aspergillosis. Most humans inhale Aspergillus spores every day. Aspergillosis develops mainly in individuals who are immunocompromised, either from disease or from immunosuppressive drugs, and is a leading cause of death in acute leukemia and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Conversely, it may also develop as an allergic response. The most common cause is Aspergillus fumigatus.

Aspergillus

Aspergillus is a genus consisting of several hundred mold species found in various climates worldwide. Aspergillus was first catalogued in 1729 by the Italian priest and biologist Pier Antonio Micheli. Viewing the fungi under a microscope, Micheli was reminded of the shape of an aspergillum (holy water sprinkler), from Latin spargere (to sprinkle), and named the genus accordingly. Today "aspergillum" is also the name of an asexual spore-forming structure common to all Aspergilli; around one-third of species are also known to have a sexual stage.

Asthenia

Weakness is a symptom used to describe a number of different conditions, including: lack of muscle strength, malaise, dizziness or fatigue. The causes are many and can be divided into conditions that have true or perceived muscle weakness. True muscle weakness is a primary symptom of a variety of skeletal muscle diseases, including muscular dystrophy and inflammatory myopathy. It occurs in neuromuscular junction disorders, such as myasthenia gravis.

Astrocyte

Astrocytes (etymology: astron gk. star, cyte gk. cell), also known collectively as astroglia, are characteristic star-shaped glial cells in the brain and spinal cord. They perform many functions, including biochemical support of endothelial cells that form the blood–brain barrier, provision of nutrients to the nervous tissue, maintenance of extracellular ion balance, and a role in the repair and scarring process of the brain and spinal cord following traumatic injuries.

Astrocytoma

Astrocytomas are a type of neoplasm of the brain. They originate in a particular kind of glial-cells, star-shaped brain cells in the cerebrum called astrocytes. This type of tumor doesn't usually spread outside the brain and spinal cord and it doesn't usually affect other organs. Astrocytomas are the most common glioma and can occur in most parts of the brain and occasionally in the spinal cord.

Atamestane

Atamestane is an aromatase inhibitor that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Atamestane blocks the production of the hormone estrogen in the body.

Ataxia

Ataxia (from Greek α- [used as a negative prefix] + -τάξις [order], meaning "lack of order") is a neurological sign and symptom that consists of gross lack of coordination of muscle movements. Ataxia is a non-specific clinical manifestation implying dysfunction of the parts of the nervous system that coordinate movement, such as the cerebellum. Several possible causes exist for these patterns of neurological dysfunction. The term "dystaxia" is a rarely-used synonym.

Ataxia-telangiectasia

Ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) (Boder-Sedgwick syndrome or Louis–Bar syndrome) is a rare, neurodegenerative, inherited disease that affects many parts of the body and causes severe disability. Ataxia refers to poor coordination and telangiectasia to small dilated blood vessels, both of which are hallmarks of the disease. A-T affects the cerebellum (the body's motor coordination control center) and also weakens the immune system in about 70% of the cases, leading to respiratory disorders and increased risk of cancer. It first appears in early childhood (the toddler stage) with symptoms such as lack of balance, slurred speech, and increased infections. Because all children at this age take time to develop good walking skills, coherent speech, and an effective immune system, it may be some years before A-T is properly diagnosed.

Atelectasis

Atelectasis (from Greek: ἀτελής, "incomplete" + εχτασις, "extension") is defined as the lack of gas exchange within alveoli, due to alveolar collapse or fluid consolidation. It may affect part or all of one lung. It is a condition where the alveoli are deflated, as distinct from pulmonary consolidation.

It is a very common finding in chest x-rays and other radiological studies. It may be caused by normal exhalation or by several medical conditions. Although frequently described as a collapse of lung tissue, atelectasis is not synonymous with a pneumothorax, which is a more specific condition that features atelectasis. Acute atelectasis may occur as a post-operative complication or as a result of surfactant deficiency. In premature neonates, this leads to infant respiratory distress syndrome.

Athymic nude mouse

A nude mouse is a laboratory mouse from a strain with a genetic mutation that causes a deteriorated or absent thymus, resulting in an inhibited immune system due to a greatly reduced number of T cells. The phenotype, or main outward appearance of the mouse is a lack of body hair, which gives it the "nude" nickname. The nude mouse is valuable to research because it can receive many different types of tissue and tumor grafts, as it mounts no rejection response. These xenografts are commonly used in research to test new methods of imaging and treating tumors. The genetic basis of the nude mouse mutation is a disruption of the FOXN1 gene.

ATLL

ATP

Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) is a rare cancer of the immune system's own T-cells. Human T cell leukemia/lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is believed to be the cause of it, in addition to several other diseases.

Atrasentan

Atrasentan is an experimental drug that is being studied for the treatment of various types of cancer, including non-small cell lung cancer. It is an endothelin receptor antagonist selective for subtype A (ETA). While other drugs of this type (sitaxentan, ambrisentan) exploit the vasoconstrictive properties of endothelin and are mainly used for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension, atrasentan blocks endothelin induced cell proliferation.

Atypical hyperplasia

Atypical hyperplasia is a benign (noncancerous) condition in which cells look abnormal under a microscope and are increased in number.

ATRT Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor

Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT) is a rare tumor usually diagnosed in childhood. Although usually a brain tumor, AT/RT can occur anywhere in the central nervous system (CNS) including the spinal cord. About 60% will be in the posterior cranial fossa (particularly the cerebellum). One review estimated 52% posterior fossa (PF), 39% sPNET (supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumors), 5% pineal, 2% spinal, and 2% multi-focal.

Augmerosen

Oblimersen (INN, trade name Genasense; also known as Augmerosen and bcl-2 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide G3139) is an antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotide being studied as a possible treatment for several types of cancer, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, B-cell lymphoma, and breast cancer. It may kill cancer cells by blocking the production of Bcl-2—a protein that makes cancer cells live longer—and by making them more sensitive to chemotherapy.

Autoclave-resistant factor

Autoclave-resistant factor is a substance found in soybeans that may slow down or stop the spread of cancer. This substance does not break down in an autoclave (a device that uses high-pressure steam to kill microorganisms and clean medical equipment).

Autoimmune disease

Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the body actually attacks its own cells. The immune system mistakes some part of the body as a pathogen and attacks it. This may be restricted to certain organs (e.g. in chagas disease) or involve a particular tissue in different places (e.g. Goodpasture's disease which may affect the basement membrane in both the lung and the kidney). The treatment of autoimmune diseases is typically with immunosuppression—medication which decreases the immune response.

Autologous

Autotransplantation is the transplantation of organs, tissues or even proteins from one part of the body to another in the same individual. Tissue transplanted by such "autologous" procedure is referred to as an autograft or autotransplant. It is contrasted with xenotransplantation (from other species) and allotransplantation (from other individual of same species). A common example is when a piece of bone (usually from the hip) is removed and ground into a paste when reconstructing another portion of bone.

Autologous bone marrow transplantation

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the transplantation of multipotent hematopoietic stem cell or blood, often derived from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood or hemopoietic stem cells derived from a placenta. Stem cell transplantation is a medical procedure in the fields of hematology and oncology, most often performed for people with diseases of the blood, bone marrow, or certain cancer.

Autologous lymphocyte

In transplantation, autologous lymphocytes refers to a person's white blood cells. Lymphocytes have a number of roles in the immune system, including the production of antibodies and other substances that fight infections and other diseases.

Autologous stem cell transplantation

Autologous stem cell transplantation is a procedure in which blood-forming stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) are removed, stored, and later given back to the same person.

Avastin

Bevacizumab (trade name Avastin, Genentech/Roche) is a drug that blocks angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels. It is used to treat various cancers, including colorectal, lung, and kidney cancer, and eye disease. Bevacizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). VEGF-A is a chemical signal that stimulates angiogenesis in a variety of diseases, especially in cancer, retinal proliferation of diabetes in the eye. Bevacizumab was the first clinically available angiogenesis inhibitor in the United States.

Axilla

The axilla (or armpit, underarm, or oxter) is the area on the human body directly under the joint where the arm connects to the shoulder.

Axillary

Axillary means "related to the axilla (armpit)". By analogy with the armpit, in botany axillary refers to the junction of a stem with a petiole.

Axillary lymph node

The Axillary lymph nodes are of large size, vary from twenty to thirty in number, and may be arranged in the following groups:

  • brachial lymph nodes (or "lateral")
  • pectoral axillary lymph nodes (or "anterior")
  • subscapular axillary lymph nodes (or "posterior")
  • central lymph nodes
  • apical lymph nodes (or "medial" or "subclavicular")

Azacitidine

Azacitidine (INN) or 5-azacytidine, sold under the trade name Vidaza, is a chemical analogue of cytidine, a nucleoside present in DNA and RNA. Azacitidine and its deoxy derivative, decitabine (also known as 5-aza-2′deoxycytidine), are used in the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome. Both drugs were first synthesized in Czechoslovakia as potential chemotherapeutic agents for cancer.

Azoxymethane

Azoxymethane is a carcinogenic and neurotoxic chemical compound used in biological research. It is the oxide of azomethane. It is particularly effective in inducing colon carcinomas.

AZQ

Silk Way Airlines is a cargo airline based in Baku, Azerbaijan. The airline was established in 2001 and operations started on October 6, 2001, with scheduled and charter cargo flights. Its main base is Heydar Aliyev International Airport, Baku.

AZT

Zidovudine (INN) or azidothymidine (AZT) (also called ZDV) is a nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI), a type of antiretroviral drug used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. It is an analog of thymidine. AZT was the first approved treatment for HIV, sold under the names Retrovir and Retrovis. AZT use was a major breakthrough in AIDS therapy in the 1990s that significantly altered the course of the illness and helped destroy the notion that HIV/AIDS was a death sentence. AZT slows HIV spread significantly, but does not stop it entirely. This allows HIV to become AZT-resistant over time, and for this reason AZT is usually used in conjunction with other NRTIs and anti-viral drugs. In this form, AZT is used as an ingredient in Combivir and Trizivir, among others. Zidovudine is included in the World Health Organization's "Essential Drugs List", which is a list of minimum medical needs for a basic health care system.

 

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Published - April 2011







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