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


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A type of white cell that participates in allergic reactions and helps fight certain
parasitic infections.

Any change that alters gene activity without changing the DNA sequence. Many types
of epigenetic changes have been identified. While epigenetic changes are natural and essential to many of the body’s functions, certain epigenetic changes can cause major adverse health effects, including cancer. Drugs that target specific epigenetic changes—for example, the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor vorinostat – are approved to treat some blood cancers and are being studied in clinical trials for treatment of other blood cancers.

A hormone required for the normal production of red blood cells. It is produced mainly
by the kidneys and is released into the blood in response to decreased levels of oxygen
in the blood. Epoetin alfa (Procrit® or Epogen®) and darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp®) are
laboratory-made forms of the human hormone erythropoietin that can be used to treat
In oncology, these drugs are used to assist in the recovery from
chemotherapy-induced anaemia or to treat chronic diseases in which anaemia is a
troublesome finding, such as lower-risk myelodysplastic syndromes. These drugs
stimulate red cell production by the same mechanism as EPO; that is, by interacting
with the EPO receptor on red cell progenitors.


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