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Glossary

Here you will find definitions and meanings of some of the most frequently used terms on the site.

 

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A drug that has the potential to kill cancer cells by inhibiting or reversing the effect of farnesyl transferase, an enzyme needed to activate oncogenes (cancer-causing genes). FTIs, including tipifarnib (Zarnestra®) and lonafarnib (Sarasar®), are being studied to treat some blood cancers.


The acronym for the United States Food and Drug Administration. Part of the FDA’s
job is to assure the safety and security of drugs, medical devices and the US food
supply.


A test that permits the identification of specific cell types within a sample of cells. The
test may be used to examine blood cells, marrow cells or cells from a biopsy.
A diluted
suspension of cells from one of these sources can be tagged with an antibody specific
for a site on the cell surface. The antibody has a chemical attached that will emit light
when activated by a laser beam.
The cells flow through the instrument called a “flow
cytometer”; when the cells pass through its laser beam, those with the antibody-
specific surface feature light up and then can be counted. One use of flow cytometry is
to determine whether a sample of cells is composed of T cells or B cells. This permits
the physician to determine if the leukaemia or lymphoma is of the B- or T-cell type.
Flow cytometry is also used to select stem cells from a mixed-cell population so that
they can be used later in a stem cell transplant.


An abbreviation for the Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 gene (Often pronounced as flit 3).
FLT3 is expressed on blood-forming stem cells and plays a role in cell development. FLT3 mutations can be detected in about one-third of AML patients. These mutations have been identified as part of the AML disease process and may become the basis for new targeted therapies.


This is a technique in which DNA probes tagged with fluorescent molecules that emit light of different wavelengths (and different colours) are used on tissue. The probes match to the chromosomes within the cells, and the chromosomes fluoresce in colour. FISH is a means of studying chromosomes in tissue.



A microbe often referred to as a “mould” or “yeast.” There are many species of fungi, and some, while relatively harmless in people with healthy immune systems, are prone to produce serious infections in people who are immunosuppressed, as after stem cell transplantation or multiple treatments with high-dose chemotherapy for progressive leukaemia or lymphoma. Fungi belong to the genera Candida, Aspergillus and Histoplasma, among others.


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