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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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Vaccine adjuvant

In immunology, an adjuvant is an agent that may stimulate the immune system and increase the response to a vaccine, without having any specific antigenic effect in itself. The word "adjuvant" comes from the Latin word adiuvare, meaning to help or aid. "An immunologic adjuvant is defined as any substance that acts to accelerate, prolong, or enhance antigen-specific immune responses when used in combination with specific vaccine antigens."

Adjuvants have been whimsically called the dirty little secret of vaccines in the scientific community. This dates from the early days of commercial vaccine manufacture, when significant variations in the effectiveness of different batches of the same vaccine were observed, correctly assumed to be due to contamination of the reaction vessels. However, it was soon found that more scrupulous attention to cleanliness actually seemed to reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines, and that the contaminants – "dirt" – actually enhanced the immune response. There are many known adjuvants in widespread use, including oils, aluminium salts, and virosomes, although precisely how they work is still not entirely understood.

Vaccine therapy

Vaccine therapy is a type of treatment that uses a substance or group of substances to stimulate the immune system to destroy a tumor or infectious microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses.

Valacyclovir

Valaciclovir (INN) or valacyclovir (USAN) is an antiviral drug used in the management of herpes simplex and herpes zoster (shingles). It is a prodrug, being converted in vivo to aciclovir. It is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline under the trade name Valtrex or Zelitrex. As of November 25, 2009, Valacyclovir is marketed in generic form in the United States by Ranbaxy Laboratories.

Valdecoxib

Valdecoxib is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and painful menstruation and menstrual symptoms. It is a cyclooxygenase-2 selective inhibitor.

Valdecoxib was manufactured and marketed under the brand name Bextra by G. D. Searle & Company. It was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration on November 20, 2001, and was available by prescription in tablet form until 2005, when it was removed from the market due to concerns about possible increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Valerian

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Valerianaceae) is a hardy perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers which bloom in the summer months. Valerian was used as a perfume in the sixteenth century.

Other names used for this plant include garden valerian (to distinguish it from other Valeriana species), garden heliotrope (although not related to Heliotropium) and all-heal. The garden flower red valerian is also sometimes referred to as "valerian", but is a different species from the same family and not very closely related.

Valerian, in pharmacology and phytotherapic medicine, is the name of an herb or dietary supplement prepared from roots of the plant, which, after maceration, trituration and dehydration processes, are packaged, usually into capsules. It is believed to have a sedative and anxiolytic effect.

Valganciclovir

Valganciclovir hydrochloride (Valcyte, manufactured by Hoffmann–La Roche (Roche). Also Cymeval, Valcyt, Valixa, Darilin, Rovalcyte, Valcyte, Patheon, Syntex) is an antiviral medication used to treat cytomegalovirus infections. As the L-valyl ester of ganciclovir, it is actually a prodrug for ganciclovir. After oral administration, it is rapidly converted to ganciclovir by intestinal and hepatic esterases.

Valproic acid

Valproic acid (VPA) is a chemical compound that has found clinical use as an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug, primarily in the treatment of epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and, less commonly, major depression. It is also used to treat migraine headaches and schizophrenia. It is marketed under the brand names Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakene, Depacon, Depakine and Stavzor.

Related drugs include the sodium salts sodium valproate, used as an anticonvulsant, and a combined formulation, valproate semisodium, used as a mood stabilizer and additionally in the U.S. as an anticonvulsant.

VPA is a histone deacetylase inhibitor and is under investigation for treatment of HIV and various cancers.

Vancomycin

Vancomycin (INN) is a glycopeptide antibiotic used in the prophylaxis and treatment of infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria. It has traditionally been reserved as a drug of "last resort", used only after treatment with other antibiotics had failed, although the emergence of vancomycin-resistant organisms means that it is increasingly being displaced from this role by linezolid (Zyvox) available PO and IV and daptomycin (Cubicin) IV and quinupristin/dalfopristin (Synercid) IV.

Varicose vein

Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and tortuous. The term commonly refers to the veins on the leg, although varicose veins can occur elsewhere. Veins have leaflet valves to prevent blood from flowing backwards (retrograde). Leg muscles pump the veins to return blood to the heart, against the effects of gravity. When veins become varicose, the leaflets of the valves no longer meet properly, and the valves do not work. This allows blood to flow backwards and they enlarge even more. Varicose veins are most common in the superficial veins of the legs, which are subject to high pressure when standing. Besides cosmetic problems, varicose veins are often painful, especially when standing or walking. They often itch, and scratching them can cause ulcers. Serious complications are rare. Non-surgical treatments include sclerotherapy, elastic stockings, elevating the legs, and exercise. The traditional surgical treatment has been vein stripping to remove the affected veins. Newer, less invasive treatments, such as ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser treatment, are slowly replacing traditional surgical treatments. Because most of the blood in the legs is returned by the deep veins, the superficial veins, which return only about 10 per cent of the total blood of the legs, can usually be removed or ablated without serious harm. Varicose veins are distinguished from reticular veins (blue veins) and telangiectasias (spider veins), which also involve valvular insufficiency, by the size and location of the veins. Many patients who suffer with varicose veins seek out the assistance of physicians who specialize in vein care. These physicians are called phlebologists.

Vascular endothelial growth factor

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a signal protein produced by cells that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. It is part of the system that restores the oxygen supply to tissues when blood circulation is inadequate.

VEGF's normal function is to create new blood vessels during embryonic development, new blood vessels after injury, muscle following exercise, and new vessels (collateral circulation) to bypass blocked vessels.

VEGF

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a signal protein produced by cells that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. It is part of the system that restores the oxygen supply to tissues when blood circulation is inadequate.

VEGF's normal function is to create new blood vessels during embryonic development, new blood vessels after injury, muscle following exercise, and new vessels (collateral circulation) to bypass blocked vessels.

Venlafaxine

Venlafaxine (brand name: Effexor or Efexor) is an antidepressant of the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) class. First introduced by Wyeth in 1993, now marketed by Pfizer, it is licensed for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, and comorbid indications in certain anxiety disorders with depression. In 2007, venlafaxine was the sixth most commonly prescribed antidepressant on the U.S. retail market, with 17.2 million prescriptions.

Villous adenoma

Villous adenoma is a type of polyp that grows in the colon and other places in the gastrointestinal tract and sometimes in other parts of the body. These adenomas may become malignant (cancerous). Villous adenomas have been demonstrated to contain malignant portions in about one third of affected persons, and invasive malignancy in another one third of removed specimens. Lower anterior resection is performed for large lesions. These can also lead to secretory diarrhoea with large volume liquid stools with few formed elements (and no blood, puss or mucus).

Villus

Villus (Latin: "shaggy hair", plural villi) may refer to:

  • Intestinal villus, the most common meaning when not more precisely specified
  • Chorionic villi, found on the surface of the outermost membrane (the chorion) of the fetus
  • Arachnoid villi, located on the arachnoid membrane of the brain
  • Vinblastine

    Vinblastine is an antimicrotubule drug used to treat certain kinds of cancer, including Hodgkin's lymphoma, non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, head and neck cancer, and testicular cancer. It is also used to treat Langerhan cell histiocytosis.

    Vinca alkaloid

    Catharanthus (Madagascar Periwinkle) is a genus of eight species of herbaceous perennial plants, seven endemic to the island of Madagascar, the eighth native to the Indian subcontinent in southern Asia. C. roseus goes by its common name "sadaphuli" (perennially flowering) in parts of Western India.

    Vincristine

    Vincristine (brand name, Oncovin), also known as leurocristine, is a vinca alkaloid from the Catharanthus roseus (Madagascar periwinkle), formerly Vinca rosea and hence its name. It is a mitotic inhibitor, and is used in cancer chemotherapy.

    Vindesine

    Vindesine is an anti-mitotic vinca alkaloid used in chemotherapy. It is used to treat many different types of cancer, including leukaemia, lymphoma, melanoma, breast cancer, and lung cancer.

    Vinorelbine

    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.

    Viral vector

    Viral vectors are a tool commonly used by molecular biologists to deliver genetic material into cells. This process can be performed inside a living organism (in vivo) or in cell culture (in vitro). Viruses have evolved specialized molecular mechanisms to efficiently transport their genomes inside the cells they infect. Delivery of genes by a virus is termed transduction and the infected cells are described as transduced. Molecular biologists first harnessed this machinery in the 1970s. Paul Berg used a modified SV40 virus containing DNA from the bacteriophage lambda to infect monkey kidney cells maintained in culture.

    Virotherapy

    Virotherapy is an experimental form of cancer treatment using biotechnology to convert viruses into cancer-fighting agents by reprogramming viruses to attack cancerous cells, while healthy cells remained relatively undamaged. Usually the viruses used are herpes simplex virus or Adenoviruses.

    It uses viruses as treatment against various diseases, most commonly as a vector used to specifically target cells and DNA in particular. It is not a new idea - as early as the 1950s doctors were noticing that cancer patients who suffered a non-related viral infection, or who had been vaccinated recently, showed signs of improvement: this has been largely attributed to the production of interferon and tumour necrosis factors in response to viral infection, but oncolytic viruses are being designed that selectively target and lyse only cancerous cells.

    Virtual colonoscopy

    Virtual colonoscopy (VC, also called CT Colonography) is a medical imaging procedure which uses x-rays and computers to produce two- and three-dimensional images of the colon (large intestine) from the lowest part, the rectum, all the way to the lower end of the small intestine and display them on a screen. The procedure is used to diagnose colon and bowel disease, including polyps, diverticulosis and cancer. VC is performed via computed tomography (CT), sometimes called a CAT scan, or with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

    Virus replication cycle

    Viral populations do not grow through cell division, because they are acellular. Instead, they use the machinery and metabolism of a host cell to produce multiple copies of themselves, and they assemble in the cell.

    Viscotoxin

    Viscotoxins are small proteins that are toxic against a varied number of cell types. They belong to plant thionins, and are produced from the leaves and stems of the European mistletoe (Viscum album).

    Visilizumab

    Visilizumab (tentative trade name Nuvion, PDL BioPharma Inc.) is a humanized monoclonal antibody. It is being investigated for use as an immunosuppressive drug in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Visilizumab binds to the CD3 receptor on certain activated T cells without affecting resting T cells. It is currently under clinical studies for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

    PDL BioPharma, Inc. canceled production of visilizumab following its Phase II/III clinical trials, citing its inefficacy and poor safety profile compared to other drugs on the market as the major reasons. Nevertheless, clinical trials continue for various diseases like multiple myeloma and diabetes mellitus type 1 as of July 2009.

    Visual pathway glioma

    Visual pathway glioma is a rare, slow-growing tumor of the eye.

    Von Hippel-Lindau disease

    Von Hippel–Lindau disease (VHL) is a rare, autosomal dominant genetic condition in which hemangioblastomas are found in the cerebellum, spinal cord, kidney and retina. These are associated with several pathologies including renal angioma, renal cell carcinoma and pheochromocytoma. VHL results from a mutation in the von Hippel–Lindau tumor suppressor gene on chromosome 3p25.3.

    Voriconazole

    Voriconazole (VFEND, Pfizer) is a triazole antifungal medication that is generally used to treat serious, invasive fungal infections. These are generally seen in patients who are immunocompromised, and include invasive candidiasis, invasive aspergillosis, and certain emerging fungal infections.

    Vorozole

    Vorozole is an imidazole based competitive inhibitor of the aromatase enzyme. It underwent clinical testing for evaluation for use as an antineoplastic agent; however it was withdrawn from testing when no difference was detected in the duration of median survival as compared to the progestational agent megestrol acetate and research instead focused on the other third generation aromatase inhibitors anastrozole, letrozole and exemestane.

    Vulvar cancer

    Vulvar cancer, a malignant invasive growth in the vulva, accounts for about 4 % of all gynecological cancers and typically affects women in later life. It is estimated that in the United States in 2006 about 3,740 new cases will be diagnosed and about 880 women will die as a result of vulvar cancer. Vulvar carcinoma is separated from vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN), a non-invasive lesion of the epithelium that can progress via carcinoma-in-situ to squamous cell cancer, and from Paget disease of the vulva.

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    Published - April 2011







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