Melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes, which are the cells that make the pigment melanin and are derived from the neural crest. Although most melanomas arise in the skin, they may also arise from mucosal surfaces or at other sites to which neural crest cells migrate, including the uveal tract. Uveal melanomas differ significantly from cutaneous melanoma in incidence, prognostic factors, molecular characteristics, and treatment. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Intraocular (Uveal) Melanoma Treatment...
antibodies: Proteins made by your body that fight off foreign substances.
antigen: A foreign substance, such as a bacteria, virus, or tissue, that does not come from your body.
apheresis: A process in which whole blood is drawn from a donor, the stem cells are then harvested, and the other blood products are returned to the donor.
autologous: Stem cell transplantation using your own stem cells.
bone marrow: The spongy part of some bones, where blood cells develop from immature marrow cells called stem cells.
bone marrow transplant (BMT): A transplant containing all three types of blood cells that develop in the bone marrow: red cells, white cells, and platelets. (Stem cell transplants only use the immature stem cells from the circulating blood.)
cord blood transplant: Stem cell transplant using cells collected from the umbilical cord and placenta of healthy newborns.
conditioning (cytotoxic or myeloablative) treatment: High-dose chemotherapy and/or radiation given before a stem cell transplant.
embryonic stem cells: Immature cells from umbilical cord blood that can develop into many types of cells, including blood cells.
granulocyte colony-stimulating factor drugs: Growth factor medicines given to draw stem cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream.
graft (autograft or allograft): The new blood-producing cells that develop after a successful stem cell transplant.
graft-versus-host disease: A condition in which donor cells think the recipient's cells are foreign and attack them.
graft-versus-tumor effect (GVT): The good response that happens when the donor cells attack any of the recipient's cancer cells that may remain after chemotherapy.
growth factor: Medicines that boost the numbers of infection-fighting white blood cells.
harvesting: The process of collecting stem cells.
hematopoietic stem cells: Immature blood cells or blood-forming stem cells.
hematopoiesis: The process by which the body makes red blood cells.
human leukocyte antigens (HLA): Proteins found on the surface of white blood cells and tissues. A tissue-typing test shows how many HLA matches the recipient has in common with a donor.