Glossary of Terms


B lymphocyte

listen (... LIM-foh-site) A type of white blood cell that makes antibodies. B lymphocytes are part of the immune system and develop from stem cells in the bone marrow. Also called B cell.

B3 monoclonal antibody

listen ( MAH-noh-KLOH-nul AN-tee-BAH-dee) A substance that binds to a molecule called Lewis Y antigen that is found on many types of tumor cells and some normal cells. It is being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer that express the Lewis Y antigen. It is a type of monoclonal antibody.

B43-PAP immunotoxin

listen (... IH-myoo-noh-TOK-sin) A toxic substance linked to an antibody that attaches to tumor cells and kills them.

B7-1

A protein found on the surface of some immune system cells, including B cells and monocytes. Cells with B7-1 on their surface cause T cells to make substances that help control immune responses. Also called CD80.

bacillus Calmette-Guérin

listen (buh-SIH-lus KAL-met-gay-RIN) A weakened form of the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (bacillus Calmette-Gurin) that does not cause disease. Bacillus Calmette-Gurin is used in a solution to stimulate the immune system in the treatment of bladder cancer and as a vaccine to prevent tuberculosis. Also called BCG.

bacillus Calmette-Guérin solution

listen (buh-SIH-lus KAL-met-gay-RIN suh-LOO-shun) A type of biologic therapy used to treat early stage bladder cancer. The solution is made from a weakened form of a bacterium called Mycobacterium bovis (bacillus Calmette-Gurin) that does not cause disease. It is given through a catheter that is placed into the bladder where the solution is held for about two hours. Bacillus Calmette-Gurin solution may help the bodys immune system kill cancer cells. Also called BCG solution.

bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine

listen (buh-SIH-lus KAL-met-gay-RIN vak-SEEN) A vaccine used to prevent tuberculosis (TB) in people who are at a high risk of TB or where TB is common. It is rarely given in the U.S. It is made from a weakened form of a bacterium called Mycobacterium bovis (bacillus Calmette-Gurin), which is similar to the bacteria that cause TB. The vaccine may help the bodys immune system make antibodies to destroy the TB bacteria. It also may help the immune system kill cancer cells and is being studied in the treatment of melanoma. Also called BCG vaccine.

backbone

listen (BAK-bone) The bones, muscles, tendons, and other tissues that reach from the base of the skull to the tailbone. The backbone encloses the spinal cord and the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. Also called spinal column, spine, and vertebral column.

baclofen

listen (BAK-loh-fen) A drug that is used to treat certain types of muscle spasms and is being studied in the treatment of liver cancer. Baclofen relaxes muscles by blocking certain nerve receptors in the spinal cord. It is a type of antispasmodic. Also called Kemstro and Lioresal.

baclofen/amitriptyline/ketamine gel

listen (BAK-loh-fen A-mih-TRIP-tih-leen KEE-tuh-meen jel) A substance being studied in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy (pain, numbness, tingling, burning, or weakness in the hands or feet) caused by chemotherapy. It contains three drugs, baclofen, amitriptyline, and ketamine, that relax muscles by blocking nerve receptors. The gel is applied to the skin of affected areas. It is a type of analgesic. Also called BAK gel.

bacteria

listen (bak-TEER-ee-uh) A large group of single-cell microorganisms. Some cause infections and disease in animals and humans. The singular of bacteria is bacterium.

bacterial toxin

listen (bak-TEER-ee-ul TOK-sin) A harmful substance made by bacteria that can cause illness. Bacterial toxins can also be made in the laboratory and attached to monoclonal antibodies that bind to cancer cells. These toxins may help kill cancer cells without harming normal cells.

BAER test

listen (... test) A test used to detect some types of hearing loss, such as hearing loss caused by injury or tumors that affect nerves involved in hearing. Electrodes are placed on the head and certain tones or clicking sounds are made. The electrodes measure nerve signals in the brain when it reacts to the sounds. Also called ABR test, auditory brain stem response test, and brain stem auditory evoked response test.

BAK gel

listen ( jel) A substance being studied in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy (pain, numbness, tingling, burning, or weakness in the hands or feet) caused by chemotherapy. It contains three drugs, baclofen, amitriptyline, and ketamine, that relax muscles by blocking nerve receptors. The gel is applied to the skin of affected areas. It is a type of analgesic. Also called baclofen/amitriptyline/ketamine gel.

balloon angioplasty

listen (buh-LOON AN-jee-oh-PLAS-tee) A procedure to enlarge the opening in a blood vessel that has become narrowed or blocked by plaque (a buildup of fat and cholesterol on the inner wall of the blood vessel). A small balloon is filled with air inside the blood vessel to push the plaque against the blood vessel wall and increase the opening.

balloon catheter radiation

listen (buh-LOON KA-theh-ter RAY-dee-AY-shun) A system used to deliver internal radiation therapy to breast cancer patients after surgery to remove their cancer. Balloon catheter radiation targets only the part of the breast where the cancer was found. After a patient has had a lumpectomy to remove the cancer, a small balloon on the end of a catheter (thin tube) is inserted into the empty space left by the surgery. The balloon is then filled with liquid and left in place. Using the catheter, radioactive seeds are put into the balloon twice a day for five days and removed each time. Once treatment has ended, the catheter and balloon are removed. Balloon catheter radiation is a type of intracavitary brachytherapy and partial breast irradiation therapy (PBRT). Also called MammoSite.

barbiturate

listen (bar-BIH-chuh-rayt) A type of drug that causes a decrease in brain activity. Barbiturates may be used to treat insomnia, seizures, and convulsions, and to relieve anxiety and tension before surgery. A barbiturate is a type of central nervous system (CNS) depressant.

barium enema

listen (BAYR-ee-um EH-neh-muh) A procedure in which a liquid that contains barium sulfate is put through the anus into the rectum and colon. Barium sulfate is a silver-white metallic compound that helps show pictures of the colon, rectum, and anus on an x-ray.

barium solution

listen (BAYR-ee-um suh-LOO-shun) A liquid that contains barium sulfate (a form of the silver-white metallic element barium). It is used to show pictures of parts of the digestive system in x-rays.

barium sulfate

listen (BAYR-ee-um SUL-fayt) A silver-white metallic compound made from the mineral barite. It is mixed with water and used in barium swallows and barium enemas to help show parts of the digestive system on an x-ray.

barium swallow

listen (BAYR-ee-um SWAH-loh) The process of getting x-ray pictures of the esophagus or the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract (esophagus, stomach, and duodenum). The x-ray pictures are taken after the patient drinks a liquid that contains barium sulfate (a form of the silver-white metallic element barium). The barium sulfate coats and outlines the inner walls of the esophagus and the upper GI tract so that they can be seen on the x-ray pictures.

Barrett esophagus

listen (BA-ret ee-SAH-fuh-gus) A condition in which the cells lining the lower part of the esophagus have changed or been replaced with abnormal cells that could lead to cancer of the esophagus. The backing up of stomach contents (reflux) may irritate the esophagus and, over time, cause Barrett esophagus.

barrier

listen (BAYR-ee-er) Something that blocks, prevents, separates, or limits.

basal cell

listen (BAY-sul sel) A small, round cell found in the lower part (or base) of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin.

basal cell cancer

listen (BAY-sul sel KAN-ser) Cancer that begins in the lower part of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). It may appear as a small white or flesh-colored bump that grows slowly and may bleed. Basal cell cancers are usually found on areas of the body exposed to the sun. Basal cell cancers rarely metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body. They are the most common form of skin cancer. Also called basal cell carcinoma.

basal cell carcinoma

listen (BAY-sul sel KAR-sih-NOH-muh) Cancer that begins in the lower part of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). It may appear as a small white or flesh-colored bump that grows slowly and may bleed. Basal cell carcinomas are usually found on areas of the body exposed to the sun. Basal cell carcinomas rarely metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body. They are the most common form of skin cancer. Also called basal cell cancer.

basal cell nevus syndrome

listen (BAY-sul sel NEE-vus SIN-drome) A genetic condition that causes unusual facial features and disorders of the skin, bones, nervous system, eyes, and endocrine glands. People with this syndrome have a higher risk of basal cell carcinoma. Also called Gorlin syndrome and nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome.

base

listen (bays) In chemistry, a substance that can accept hydrogen ions in water and can neutralize an acid. Bases feel soapy or slippery on the skin and they can turn certain dyes blue. An example of a base is sodium hydroxide. Basicity is measured on a scale called the pH scale. On this scale, a pH value of 7 is neutral, and a pH value of more than 7 to 14 shows increasing basicity.

base pair

listen (bays payr) Molecules called nucleotides, on opposite strands of the DNA double helix, that form chemical bonds with one another. These chemical bonds act like rungs in a ladder and help hold the two strands of DNA together. There are four nucleotides, or bases, in DNA: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). These bases form specific pairs (A with T, and G with C).

baseline

listen (BAYS-line) An initial measurement that is taken at an early time point to represent a beginning condition, and is used for comparison over time to look for changes. For example, the size of a tumor will be measured before treatment (baseline) and then afterwards to see if the treatment had an effect.

basicity

listen (bay-SIH-sih-tee) In chemistry, the quality of being a base (not an acid). A base is a substance that can accept hydrogen ions in water and can neutralize an acid. Basicity is measured on a scale called the pH scale. On this scale, a pH value of 7 is neutral, and a pH value of more than 7 to 14 shows increasing basicity.

basophil

listen (BAY-soh-fil) A type of immune cell that has granules (small particles) with enzymes that are released during allergic reactions and asthma. A basophil is a type of white blood cell and a type of granulocyte.

batimastat

listen (ba-TIH-muh-stat) An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Batimastat is a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor.

batracylin

listen (BA-truh-SY-lin) A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It may kill cancer cells by causing damage to the DNA. Batracylin is a type of heterocyclic aryl amine.

bavituximab

listen (ba-vih-TUK-sih-mab) A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer and infections caused by certain viruses. It binds to substances on the surface of tumor cells, certain viruses, and cells infected with a virus. The immune system detects bavituximab on the cells and the viruses and may destroy them. It is a type of monoclonal antibody and a type of targeted therapy agent. Also called Tarvacin.

BAY 12-9566

An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

BAY 43-9006

A drug used to treat advanced kidney cancer and a type of liver cancer that cannot be removed by surgery. It is also used to treat a type of advanced thyroid cancer that did not get better with radioactive iodine treatment. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. BAY 43-9006 stops cancer cells from dividing and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called Nexavar and sorafenib tosylate.

BAY 56-3722

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called camptothecins.

BAY 59-8862

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called taxanes.

BB-10901

A substance that combines a monoclonal antibody (huN901) with an anticancer drug (DM1), and is being studied in the treatment of certain cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells.

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