Glossary: Stem Cell Transplants
immune system: A network of cells, tissues, and organs that protects your body from disease and infection.
indwelling catheter (central line): A tube surgically placed in your chest near your neck through which to give chemotherapy and receive your stem cell infusion. It may also be used to draw blood. This type of catheter is also known as a "port."
infusion: Delivery of liquid medicine or treatment through a vein.
matched unrelated donor (MUD): A donor who is not a blood relative, but who has a complete HLA match to the patient. These donors are often found through bone marrow registries.
monoclonal antibodies: Molecules made in a laboratory, engineered to attach to your cancer cells so they can be seen as foreign and attacked by your immune system.
mucositis: Mouth sores that result when chemotherapy destroys the mucosal cells that line the mouth and intestinal tract.
peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC): The small number of stem cells that make their way from the bone marrow to the circulating blood.
platelets: Cells that prevent or stop bleeding.
purging: The process of separating cancer cells from bone marrow or stem cells.
red blood cells (erythrocytes): Cells that carry oxygen.
reduced intensity (non-myeloablative or "mini-") transplant: A conditioning process in which lower doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation -- or none at all -- are given prior to stem cell transplant; often used with slow-growing cancers or for older or sicker people.
remission: A period of time when the cancer is not active and you have no symptoms.
stem cells: Immature cells that develop into white and red blood cells and platelets. Most live in the bone marrow, but some (peripheral stem cells) are in the bloodstream.
syngeneic: Stem cell transplant using cells from an identical twin.
tandem (double autologous) transplants: A process in which you have two stem cell transplants with your own cells, done about three to six months apart, to increase chances of success.
tissue typing (HLA typing): A test to see how many antigens match on your cells and your donor's cells. The closer the match, the lower the chance that your immune system will fight the new cells.
white blood cells (leukocytes): Cells that are part of the body's immune system, which fights disease and infection.