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Search Results For: B

Term Definition
B Cell White blood cell involved in protecting the body from foreign invaders by making antibodies. Originating in bone marrow, B cells are transformed by interaction with antigens and become either a memory cell or a plasma cell. Fully mature B cells are called plasma cells and produce a single line of antibodies against a single antigen.
B Cell Lymphoma A cancer of the blood and lymph nodes derived from mutations of the B cell lymphocytes.
B Cell Receptor An antibody like molecule attached to the surface of a B cell that identifies an antigen and triggers a B cell immune response.
B Lymphocyte Stimulator (BlyS) A member of the TNF family of proteins, this small protein is secreted by macrophages and other antigen presenting cells, and stimulates B cell proliferation. BlyS was discovered and is being developed as a drug target by Human Genome Sciences.
B7 A protein present on B cells, dendritic cells, and other white blood cells. B7 binds to CD28 on T cells, which helps to trigger activiation of the specific T cells during an immune response.
Bacteria Single-celled microorganisms which can exist either as independent (free-living) organisms or as parasites (dependent upon another organism for life). The singular is "bacterium."
Basal Steady-state, often low, level essential for maintaining a fundamental vital activity of an organism. Ground state. "
Basal Ganglia Located at the base of the brain, this region is responsible for purposeful body movement and fine-tuned coordination. It is composed of 3 nerve cell clusters: the caudate nucleus, putamen, and globus pallidus. Dysfuction of this area is evident in Parkinson disease and related disorders.
Bcl-2 A protein that protects cells from apoptosis (cell suicide). Tumor cells often turn on expression of Bcl-2 to avoid cell death, and blocking activity of Bcl-2 is being explored as a cancer therapeutic. "
Bcl-X A protein similar to Bcl-2 involved in regulating apoptosis. Different forms of Bcl-X either protect cells from apoptosis or induce apoptosis.
BEMA System (Atrix) A polymer-based film technology for transmucosal delivery of drugs.
Beta-Blockers A class of drugs that block activity at badrenergic receptors, and therefore can be used against hypertension, cardiac dysrythmias, diastolic myocardial dysfunction, glaucoma, and other conditions.
bFGF Basic fibroblast growth factor, a pro-angiogenic molecule. "
Bioavailability The degree and rate at which a substance (i.e. a drug) is absorbed into a living system or is made available at the site of physiological activity.
Bioinformatics The use of computer technology to process, analyze, store, and retrieve biological data. Bioinformatics applies technology in information management and mathematics to process the avalanche of data produced in biological research, particularly in genomics and proteomics. An example of bioinformatics is the use of computers to analyze information gained from DNA microarray experiments. "
Biological License Application (BLA) Application to the Food and Drug Administration to begin marketing specific sorts of drugs known as “biologics” to the public. “Biologics,” (the FDA distinguishes from small molecule “drugs”) include (1) therapeutic DNA plasmid products; (2) therapeutic synthetic peptide products of 40 or fewer amino acids; (3) monoclonal antibody products for in vivo use; and (4) therapeutic recombinant DNA-derived products. "
Biological Pathway A cellular process serving a specific purpose such as energy production or insulin regulation. Scientists study these molecular sequences of events in order to understand problems such as tumor progression and target particular molecular processes to block with drugs.
Biopharmaceutical Company Company involved in research of new drugs as well as the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of pharmaceutical products.
Biopsy Surgical procedure to remove all or part of a tumor for diagnostic tests. Biopsies are usually done to determine if cancer is present and, if so, what type. "
Biotechnology The industry whose companies discover, manufacture, develop, test, and market products that are made from, are degraded to, or otherwise utilize “biologic” agents. Increasingly, these agents are linked with discoveries and developments in genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, or related fields of natural science.
Bi-Specific Monoclonal Antibody A chimeric monoclonal antibody whose two variable regions each recognize a different antigen.
Bisphosphonate One of several compounds that are analogues of pyrophosphate (P-O-P) in which oxygen is replaced with carbon (P-C-P). The first-generation products include etidronate, alendronate, and risedronate. They bind to specific crystals (hydroxyapatite) in bone, inhibiting bone resorption and stabilizing or increasing bone mineral density. These compounds have use for maintaining bone architecture in disorders characterized by bone demineralization and breakdown such as osteoporosis, hypercalcemia of malignancy, and bony disease related to multiple myeloma or solid tumor metastases.
Blast Crisis An accelerated phase of a leukemia during which a very high count of immature white blood cells, typically, are found in the bone marrow and peripheral blood. The transformation to this phase of the disease is typically characterized by multiple chromosomal abnormalities of the affected cells. The blast phase of the disease is extremely difficult to treat, and bleeding and infection may occur due to bone marrow failure. Known risk factors are exposure to ionizing radiation and benzene.
Blepharospasm Spasmodic contraction of the orbicularis occuli muscle, a muscle responsible for eyelid closure.
Blinding The concealment of treatment versus control group assignment. In a single-blind study, knowledge of group assignment is withheld from patients. For example, patients don’t know if they’re receiving the test drug or a placebo. In a double-blind study, such knowledge is withheld from not only the patients but also the researchers. When properly executed, blinding eliminates the opportunity for knowledge of assignment to influence patient response to intervention. Blinding can also eliminate the opportunity for investigator behaviors to influence outcomes.

Although straightforward, blinding is often difficult to achieve in real life. For example, if a therapeutic produces a swelling at the point of injection, physicians and sometimes patients may realize who is receiving treatment vs. placebo. Erbitux and Iressa produced a distinctive red face rash in many recipients, a mild effect which actually predicted positive therapeutic effect, but made it difficult to truly blind study subjects.

Blood Clot The coagulated phase of blood resulting from the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin (a reaction catalyzed by the enzyme thrombin) and a resultant entrapment of red blood cells and some other cells and cell fragments.
Blood clotting factors Proteins whose role in the body is to tend to clot blood. Their function is in delicate balance with other proteins that have a tendency to prevent blood clots, destroy blood clots, or both"
Blood-CNS Barrier A network of capillaries, their distinct endothelial cell architecture, and surrounding non-neuronal cells (neuroglia), that limit the passages of certain substances between the blood and central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) tissue. Also known as the blood-brain barrier.
Bolus A large dose, whether physiologic or supplemental, such that the desired concentration of a substance is reached rapidly.
Bone Marrow The tissue located in the bones where blood is manufactured.
Bone Marrow Transplant A procedure in which a patient's bone marrow that was destroyed by chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy is replaced either with donated bone marrow or the patient's own marrow that has been collected and stored prior to chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Bone Morphogenic Protein (BMP) Any of several proteins that are involved in initiating a cascade of molecular signals that lead to the production of proteins involved in bone and other specific tissue formation. Molecular signal propagation is assisted by members of a family of signal transducing proteins called the Smad proteins. The first therapeutic applications of BMPs has been in the field of orthopedic surgery, but pulmonary, vascular, and oncologic applications are virtually inevitable.
Botox Type A botulinum toxin, FDA-approved in 1989 for the treatment of strabismus and dystonia-associated blepharospasm, it has a major anti-wrinkle cosmetic role, and was approved for use in cervical dystonia in late 2000.
Botulinum Toxin (Type A / Type B) Two of seven alternative forms of the toxin, perhaps the most potent in nature, elaborated by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The purified toxin is the first bacterial toxin to be used as a medicine, currently used as a treatment for movement disorders such as cervical dystonia.
Bovine Derived from a cow, ox, bison, buffalo, or close relatives thereof.
BRACAnalysis Test produced by Myriad Genetics for a genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer caused by mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Bradykinesia Slow movement
Brainstem The portion of the brain directly connected to the spinal cord. Its uppermost limit is a matter of debate, but its nerve cell masses coordinate specific aspects of many basic functions such as breathing, eye movement, and even aspects of consciousness itself.
Brand-Name Drugs Pharmaceuticals which are marketed using a brand name that is distinct from the scientific name of the drug. Many brand-name drugs are patented which prevents other companies from marketing copies of the specific drug.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 Genes The first breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility genes to be identified. Mutated forms of these genes are believed to be responsible for about half the cases of inherited breast cancer in women and an even greater proportion of those that occur in younger women. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are tumor suppressor genes that normally act to produce proteins that suppress abnormal cell divisions. If these genes are mutated, the proteins may not function correctly, leading to uncontrolled cell divisions and cancer. Inherited mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are responsible for about seven percent of all breast and ten percent of all ovarian cancers. While the general female population has a ten percent lifetime risk of breast cancer, women who test positive using the BRACAnalysis for BRCA1 or BRCA2 have a 56 to 86% risk lifetime risk of breast cancer and a 27 to 44% risk of ovarian cancer. "
Breakthrough Pain Pain that affects a patient between doses of a primary analgesic (pain medication).
Breast Cancer Cancer that begins in specific breast tissue. Most women have a 10% risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. It is the most common from of cancer in women and is the leading cause of cancer related death in the 15 to 54 age group. The American Cancer Society estimates that in the year 2000 there will be about 182,800 new cases in women in the United States and about 40,800 deaths. About 10 % of all breast cancers are associated with known genetic mutations. Women with mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have a 60% chance of developing breast cancer by age 70. "
Broad Spectrum Antibiotics Antibiotics with an ability to neutralize or kill an extensive array of types of microorganisms (especially relating to bacteria).
Bromotaxane A hydrophobic derivative of paclitaxel (Taxol) being developed by Liposome against ovarian and other cancers.
Bronchi Subdivisions of the trachea (windpipe) that transmit air to and from the lungs.
Bronchial Relating to the bronchi.
Bronchitis Inflammation of the mucous membranes of the bronchial tubes.
Bronchoconstriction Narrowing of airways.
Bronchodilator Any agent that opens or widens the bronchial passages, those branches of the trachea (windpipe) that eventuate into the lungs.
Buccal Inner cheek.
Bursa (1) The blood cell producing organ of birds, analogous in function to the bone marrow of mammals. (2) A closed, fluid-filled sac that provides a low-friction surface between tissues of the body.
Butorphanol A synthetically derived opioid analgesic (pain medication).
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