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Glossary: Stem Cell Transplants

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allogeneic ("allo"): Stem cell transplantation using cells donated by another person.

anemia: A condition caused by a lack of red blood cells, the cells that transport oxygen to the body's tissues.

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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.

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