Glossary

Anemia

A deficiency in red blood cells, leading to tiredness and lack of energy.

Apheresis

The process of collecting blood from a donor, removing one or more blood components (plasma, blood platelets, or white blood cells), and then returning the remaining blood back to the donor through transfusion.

Autologous

Cells obtained when the same individual is donor and recipient.

Autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT)

Stem cell transplant using a patient’s own stem cells.

Bone marrow

A soft sponge-like tissue in the middle of all your bones that contains lots of blood vessels: red blood cells, most white blood cells, and platelets.

Central venous catheter (CVC)

A tubular device typically inserted into a large vein in the neck. A CVC can also be inserted into the chest or the groin. A CVC is used to administer multiple medications, intravenous fluids, and to draw blood samples to perform tests.

Chemomobilization

A treatment that your doctor may utilize which uses chemotherapy (typically followed by growth factor) as a catalyst to move stem cells from bone marrow to circulating blood.

Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO)

A chemical preservative used to protect stem cells during the freezing process, preventing the cells from collapsing and dying.

Engraftment

The process by which collected stem cells received during transplant start to grow and make new blood cells. The definition of engraftment in transplant is very specific and relates to a neutrophil and platelet count recovery. Neutrophil engraftment is defined as the first day of three consecutive days where the neutrophil count (absolute neutrophil count) is 500 cells/mm3 (0.5 x 109/L) or greater. Platelet engraftment is defined as 20,000/mm3 (20 x 109/L) unsupported by a platelet transfusion.

Granulocyte–colony stimulating factor (G-CSFs)

Also known as growth factors, are molecules that stimulate white cell growth.

Growth factors

Substances that stimulate cell growth.

Hematopoietic

Relating to the formation of blood or blood cells.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT)

An infusion of stem cells into a recipient’s bloodstream; in cancer patients, usually performed after high-intensity chemotherapy and/or radiation in order to restore healthy levels of blood cells.

Homing

Occurs when new, infused stem cells begin traveling through the circulatory system and to the bone marrow.

Leukocytes

Also known as white blood cells, these cells fight the bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other substances that cause infection.

Leukocytosis

A condition where the patient has elevated white blood cells in the blood.

Mobilization

The process of stimulating stem cells to move out of the bone marrow and into the bloodstream for collection.

Mucositis

The inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, including the mouth, the windpipe, the stomach, and the anus.

Orthostatic hypotension

A sudden fall in blood pressure when a person stands up from the sitting position.

Peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs)

Stem cells that leave the bone marrow and circulate in the bloodstream.

Peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT)

Infusion of stem cells obtained from the peripheral blood.

Platelet

A tiny disc-shaped blood fragment that assists in forming blood clots; essential to prevent excessive bleeding.

Red blood cells (RBCs)

Cells that carry oxygen to the body’s tissues and carbon dioxide away from the tissues.

Spleen

An oblong-shaped organ situated between the heart and stomach that plays a role in the final destruction of red blood cells, filtration and storage of blood, and production of lymphocytes.

Stem cells

Very young cells that mature into the functional components of your bloodstream, like red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, and help you recover from the marrow suppressive effects of high doses of chemotherapy and radiation.

Stem cell transplant (SCT)

An infusion of stem cells into a recipient’s bloodstream; in cancer patients, usually performed after high-intensity chemotherapy and/or radiation in order to restore healthy levels of blood cells.

Subcutaneous injection

An injection delivered under the skin.

Thrombocytopenia

A condition where there are not enough platelets in the blood. Thrombocytopenia is likely to occur following a stem cell transplant and increases your chance of bleeding.

White blood cells (WBCs)

Cells in the immune system that fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause infection.