Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC)—The total number of neutrophils (infection fighting cells) in the white blood cell count.

Allogeneic Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant—A transplant that uses a sibling or unrelated donor.

Amyloidosis—A group of diseases in which protein is deposited in specific organs (localized amyloidosis) or throughout the body (systemic amyloidosis). Amyloidosis may be either primary (with no known cause) or secondary (caused by another disease, including some types of cancer). Generally, primary amyloidosis affects the nerves, skin, tongue, joints, heart and liver; secondary amyloidosis often affects the spleen, kidneys, liver and adrenal glands.

Apheresis—Means to “take away."  Apheresis removes or takes away different cells from the blood.  For example: Peripheral stem cell apheresis removes the stem cell.  Plateletpheresis removes platelets or one of the blood’s clotting factors.

Aplastic Anemia—A condition in which the bone marrow is unable to produce blood cells.

Autologous Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant—A transplant where the patient receives his or her own bone marrow/stem cells that have been collected previously through apheresis.

Bone Marrow Aspirate/Biopsy—A procedure where bone marrow (the “wet spongy material inside the bone where stem cells are produced) is withdrawn through a needle and then looked at under a microscope.  The aspirate is where fluid is “sucked” out of the marrow.  The biopsy is where a tiny piece of the marrow is cut out.

Central Venous Catheter (CVC, Central Line)—An IV that is placed into a large vein in the body, usually the chest.  It is a thin, soft, plastic tube that can be used for chemotherapy, blood transfusions, IV fluids/medicines, or hemodialysis.  It can also be used to take blood samples. Common names of some CVC’s are Hickman, Groshong or Permacath.

Chemotherapy—A type of medicine used to kill cancer cells.

Chronic Leukemia—A slowly progressing cancer that starts in blood-forming tissues such as the bone marrow, and causes large numbers of white blood cells to be produced and enter the blood stream.

Clinical Trial—A study that is used to collect data to evaluate effectiveness of newer treatment options.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)—A blood test that reports the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

Conditioning (Preparative Regimen)—The designated treatment plan used prior to the transplant to treat the underlying cancer.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)—A common virus in the environment. It is usually harmless to people with a healthy immune system.  It can be a result of being exposed to someone with the virus or can be dormant in the patient’s body and be a reactivation of the virus. It can affect the lungs, intestines, eyes and liver.

Engraftment—When the stem cells start producing white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets after the transplant has occurred.

G-CSF (Filgrastim, Neupogen, growth factor)—A granulocyte colony stimulating factor.  Stimulates growth of stem cells that aid in production of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

Graft Failure—The donor’s bone marrow/stem cells initially engraft, but later fail to continue making sufficient, healthy blood cells.

Graft Rejection—The donor’s bone marrow/stem cells never established themselves in the recipient and do not begin producing normal blood cells.

Graft-versus-Host-Disease (GvHD)—The donor’s bone marrow/stem cells recognize the recipient’s body as being foreign and fight against it. 

Hematology—The study of blood and blood disorders.

Hemoglobin—The oxygen carrying capability of the red blood cell to body tissues.

Hemorrhage—A large amount of bleeding.

Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)—Proteins on the surface of white blood cells that contain a genetic “fingerprint."  Used to identify sibling and unrelated donors.

Hypertension—High blood pressure.

Hypotension—Low blood pressure.

Immune System—The body’s natural defense system to fight against different kinds of infections and viruses.

Low Bacterial Diet—A diet that involves eating no fresh fruits, vegetables, raw meats, nuts, and unprocessed foods. It is a diet used to eliminate foods that contain germs or organisms that can cause infection in people with weak immune systems.

Morbidity—A diseased condition or state.  The incidence of a disease or of all diseases in a population.

Mucositis—Sores in the lining of the mouth.

Muga (Stress or Resting) Test—It checks how well the main chamber of the heart (left ventricle) of the heart pumps blood through the body. The test compares how the heart works at rest and with exercise.

Myeloablative Stem Cell Transplant—Receiving high doses of chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy as the conditioning regimen for an allogeneic stem cell transplant. It is an inpatient procedure.

Neutropenia—A decrease in the number of neutrophils (infection fighting cells) in the white blood count.

Non-myeloablative Stem Cell Transplant (Mini-transplant)—Receiving less toxic chemotherapy or radiation doses as the conditioning regimen for an allogeneic stem cell transplant.  It can be an inpatient or outpatient procedure.

Oncology—The study of cancer.

Platelet—A component of the blood that controls bleeding.

Protocol—The treatment plan that is in step-by-step process.

Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs)—Evaluation of lung function.  Measures how much air moves in and out of the lungs.

Red Blood Cells—A part of the blood that contains the hemoglobin that transports oxygen to the other parts of the body.

Relapse—When there is recurrence of a disease following treatment.

Remission  (Complete or Partial)—Complete –  when there is no evidence of disease following treatment.  Partial – at least a 50% reduction in the disease following treatment.

Sepsis—Overwhelming infection involving the blood or other organs and tissues.

Syngeneic Stem Cell Transplant—A stem cell transplant using an identical twin as the donor.

Stem Cells (Hematopoietic Stem Cells)—The cells from which all blood cells are made.  These cells are referred to as the “mother” cell.

Stomatitis—Soreness in the throat.

Tissue Typing—Obtaining a blood sample to detect the genetic markers on the surface of the cells to determine a match.  Siblings are more likely to match one another than a parent and child. There is a 25% chance that one sibling will have the same tissue type as another.

Total Body Irradiation (TBI)—Radiation to the entire body.  Used in specific conditioning regimens.

Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN—also called Hyperalimentation)—A form of nutrition that is given by way of an IV to provide essential nutrients when unable to eat.

Veno-Occlusive Disease (VOD)—A disease when the blood vessels that carry blood through the liver become swollen and blocked causing the liver to not remove toxins, drugs and other waste products from the bloodstream.


The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: