Weill Cornell Bone Marrow Transplant Program

Glossary of Terms

Absolute Granulocyte/Neutrophil Count (ANC): A measure of the number of neutrophil (also known as segmented neutrophils or segs) present in the blood. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that fights against infection. ANC= (%neutrophils + %bands) x White Blood Count.

Afebrile: Without fever.

Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant: Stem cells are obtained from a donor who is not an identical twin. This is usually a brother or sister, but may be an unrelated volunteer donor. The stem cells are usually collected from the blood, but may be collected from the bone marrow.

Anemia: A reduced number of red blood cells that can cause you to be pale, weak, tired and feel breathless.

Apheresis: The collection of specific cells from the blood using a specialized machine.

Apheresis Catheter: An intravenous tube that is placed in a large vein under the collarbone. This catheter can be used to collect stem cells during the apheresis process or to allow infusions into the bloodstream or drawing blood from the patient

Autologous Stem Cell Transplant: You serve as your own donor. The stem cells are usually collected from the blood, but may be collected from the bone marrow.

Bone Marrow: The soft sponge like material inside large bones.

Bone Marrow Transplantation: The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy +/- radiation therapy and using fresh stem cells to replace damaged or diseased bone marrow.

Chemotherapy: Medication used to treat cancer cells.

Central Venous Catheter: A small flexible tube that is inserted into a large vein near the heart. This is used as a route for medications, nutritional supplements, administration of blood products, and to obtain blood samples.

Cord Blood: Umbilical cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby is born. This cord is rich in blood-forming cells. The donated cord blood is tested, frozen and stored at a cord blood bank for future use.

Engraftment: The process in which the normal growth and production of blood cells in the bone marrow resume after transplant.

Febrile: Having a fever.

Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD): A medical condition when the transplanted cells (graft) attack certain organs in the recipient (patient).

Growth Factors: Naturally occurring substances in the body that control the production and function of blood cells. These substances can be used as medications to help blood counts improve.

Haplo-identical: Stem cells are obtained from an individual that is not fully matched genetically. This is usually a brother or sister, but may be a child or parent.

Hemoglobin: The part of a red blood cell that contains iron. Iron binds to oxygen and is transported throughout the body.

HLA Typing: A series of tests done to determine how closely the stem cells of a donor match with the recipient (patient). This is the unique type of an individual. It is not the blood type.

Immune System: A network of organs, cells and specialized substances that are distributed throughout the body and defend it from infection or disease.

Immunosuppression: A decrease in the immune system’s ability to fight infection, which can be caused by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other drugs.

Mucositis: Reddening ad soreness of the tongue, lips, mouth, throat and gastrointestinal tract from chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Myeloablative: Doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation that completely kills the bone marrow.

Neutropenia: Low neutrophil count. A person with neutropenia is at high risk for developing an infection.

Neutrophil: A type of white blood cell which provides defense against infection.

Non-Myeloablative: Doses of chemotherapy and/or that do not completely kill the bone marrow.

Peripheral Blood Stem Cell: Blood cells that are circulating in the blood stream and which have the ability to develop into white cells, red cells, and platelets.

Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant: A type of transplant in which stem cells that circulate in the bloodstream are collected and later given back to a patient after high doses of chemotherapy and radiation are given.

Platelets: Tiny blood cells that help prevent bleeding and help the blood to clot.

Pneumonia: A disease in which the lungs are inflamed or infected.

Protocol: The outline or specific plan for a treatment.

Radiation Therapy: A type of treatment for cancer that uses radiant energy waves to damage or kill cancer cells.

Red Blood Cell: A type of blood cell, an erythrocyte, which carries oxygen in the body.

Side Effect: A usually undesirable effect from a drug or other treatment.

Syngeneic Transplant: Patients receive stem cells from their identical twin.

Thrombocytopenia: A decreased number of platelets in the blood.

Total Body Irradiation (TBI): Radiation treatment of the entire body, used to destroy malignant cells and bone marrow cells in preparation for transplant.

Veno-Occlusive Disease: A disease caused by obstruction of blood flow through the small blood vessels in the liver, resulting in damage to the liver.

White Blood Cells: A type of blood cell, that helps fight infection and is part of your immune system.