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Term Definition
Calcium Channel Blockers Drugs that block specific calcium ion channels, and whose treatment effects include anithypertensive, anti-anginal, and anti-cardiac dysrythmias amongst others.
Cancer One of a group of disorders characterized by abnormal growth and proliferation of cells. Cancers are labeled according to the tissue in which they began to grow. All begin as a single, genetically dysregulated cell. In the United States it is estimated that 50% of men and 35% of women will develop cancer at some point in their lives. "
Capillaries The smallest blood vessels. Their walls are essentially semipermeable membranes facilitating the exchange of various substances, such as fluids, oxygen, and carbon dioxide, between the blood stream and tissues. They are the conduits for oxygenated blood distribution from arteries, via arterioles, to the tissues of the body as well as the conduit for deoxygenated blood extraction from the tissues for distribution back into, via venules, veins. They are a central component of the circulatory system, essentially between the arteries and the veins. "
Capillary Leak Syndrome A clinical situation characterized, at the cellular level, by increased permeability of the smallest blood vessels, capillaries. Such permeability leads to intermittent leakage of fluids contained in these vessels into areas not surrounded by vessels (the extravascular space). Low circulating volume (hypovolemia), an increased blood cell volume and hematocrit (hemoconcentration), weakness, swelling (edema), and organ (visceral) congestion are resulting manifestations. When the condition manifests in the lungs, it is called Acute or Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). The inability to control this syndrome, often the consequence of sepsis or other causes of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome, puts the patient at risk for multi organ system failure due to ischemia and infarction, as well as death. "
Carbohydrate A molecule made up of various sugars. Carbohydrates can be attached to proteins or lipids and displayed on the cell surface, and come in a variety of different “flavors.” Carbohydrates can be antigens recognized by the immune system, and because tumor cells often produce unique carbohydrates, these antigens are potentially useful ones.
Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) A protein found in many types of visceral cells and in the developing fetus. Its clinical utility to date has been as a “tumor marker,” a protein whose measurements can be followed in order to monitor disease course. Elevated CEA levels are most often associated with cancers of the colon and rectum. However, cancers of the pancreas, stomach, breast, lung, and certain types of thyroid and ovarian cancer can also elevate such levels, as can smoking, infection, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Its presence on tumor cells makes it a suitable target for monoclonal antibodies.
Carcinoma Cancer originating in tissues lining or covering an organ.
Cardiarisk A test produced by Myriad Genetics for genetic susceptibility to a specific type of hypertension based on the presence of a SNP of the angiotensinogen (AGT) gene.
Cardiopulmonary Bypass A procedure, and the machine with which is performed, designed to relieve the physiologic burden of the heart and lungs during particularly demanding surgeries commonly referred to as “open heart surgery,” including CABG and heart or heart-lung transplants. Circulating blood returning to the heart though the venous circulation is diverted through a machine (pump-oxygenator, often referred to as the “heart-lung” machine) that does the work of both the heart (pump blood) and the lungs (supply the circulating red blood cells with oxygen while dissipating carbon dioxide) prior to returning the blood to the arterial circulation for tissue distribution.

As cardiopulmonary bypass removes the heart-lung unit from the patient’s circulatory system and replaces the unit’s functions, a surgical procedure necessitating that the heart either be stopped (cardioplegia) or undergo manipulation that diminishes or eliminates its functional capacity can be successfully performed. Surgical clamps are strategically placed on the venous and arterial sides of the unit in order to isolate it in a fashion that permits a surgeon perform a precise and timely operation.

Improvements in the procedure and its equipment have led to the routine successes of contemporary open heart surgery, but being “on bypass” or “on pump,” as it is referred, still has potential adversities such as neurologic changes including cognitive impairment, stroke, or seizures; kidney damage ranging from decreased urine output to complete renal failure; failure of lung re-expansion (atelectasis); systemic inflammatory response syndrome; severe anemia; and various blood clotting abnormalities.

Cardiotoxicity Toxic to the heart.
Cardiovascular Disease Disease of the heart and blood vessels. The four most common types of cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure, coronary heart disease (which includes heart attack and angina pectoris or chest pain), stroke and rheumatic fever/rheumatic heart disease. Other forms include arrhythmias (disorders of heart rhythm); diseases of the arteries, arterioles and capillaries (including arteriosclerosis and Kawasaki disease); bacterial endocarditis; cardiomyopathy; congenital cardiovascular defects; congestive heart failure; valvular heart disease; hypertensive disease; diseases of pulmonary circulation; diseases of veins and lymphatics and other diseases of the circulatory system.
Case-Control Study A retrospective, observational investigation in which researchers identify one group of patients with a specified outcome (cases) and another group without the specified outcome (controls). Researchers compare the histories of the cases with those of the controls in order to determine the extent to which each was exposed to an intervention of interest.
Caspase One of a group of enzymes that have a role in the promotion of apoptosis (genetically programmed cell death). Inhibition of such enzymes may have utility in combating cell and tissue damage in conditions such as myocardial infarction, stroke, inflammatory diseases, and neurodegenerative disease. Augmentation of such enzymes may have utility in combating proliferative conditions such as cancer.
Catalyst A substance that facilitates a chemical reaction without being used up in significant amounts. Enzymes act as catalysts in cells.
Cataract A clouding of the eye's lens. It can progress to impair normal vision. Causes include cortisone medication, trauma, diabetes, many other diseases, and aging. They will affect almost all people if they live long enough. The treatment of choice is surgical implantation of a new lens. Wearing sunglasses can help prevent cataracts.
Catecholamine One of several related molecules that act as neurotransmitters in the sympathetic nervous system such as epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, and dopa.
Catecholaminergic Nerve Cells Neurons that utilize catecholamines as neurotransmitters.
CD Markers Molecules present on the cell surface of white blood cells and platelets. The molecules are identified by interaction with monoclonal antibodies and are used to differentiate cell populations.
CD11 A group of adhesion molecules of the integrin family found on white blood cells, usually expressed with CD18.
CD11a The alpha chain of a cell surface adhesion molecule. When expressed with the beta chain, this adhesion molecule, a member of the integrin family, influences trafficking and interactions of white blood cells.
CD14 A protein on the surface of white blood cells that can be stimulated by various bacterial toxins thus initiating the inflammatory cascade responsible for sepsis spectrum.
CD147 A protein of unknown function expressed on all white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, and endothelial (blood vessel inner lining) cells. Also known as the CBL antigen.
CD18 A group of adhesion molecules of the integrin family found on white blood cells, usually expressed with CD11 proteins.
CD20 Cell surface marker present on normal and abnormal pre B and mature B cells. CD20 is present on more than ninety percent of B cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
CD22 Cell surface marker present on mature B cells, it is also expressed in the cytoplasm of all B cells, and absent on the surface of T cells. It is weakly expressed on myeloid and acute lymphoblastic leukemias, and is strongly expressed on hairy cell leukemias. "
CD23 Cell surface marker present on a subpopulation of B-lymphocytes, it has been detected on cancerous cells from cases of B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia and some cases of centroblastic/centrocytic lymphoma.
CD25 The receptor for IL-2, present on activated T and B cells as well as macrophages and other immune cells.
CD28 Cell surface marker present on a subpopulation of T cells, it is a critical mediator of activating these cells such that they participate in immune processes. Such participation requires its interaction with a molecule called B7-1 (CD80) on the surface of antigen presenting cells. "
CD3 The set of proteins associated with the T cell receptor involved with T cell signaling.
CD33 A cell surface marker present on certain white blood cells. It is enriched on certain blood stem cells and Adult Myelogenous Leukemia cells.
CD34 A protein found on the surface of blood stem cells and absent on most other blood cells, often used to purify blood stem cells.
CD4 Cell surface marker present on helper T cells.
CD40 A protein present on B cells and other immune cells which binds CD40 ligand (CD40L). On B cells, CD40 strengthens the activating signals that turn on immune responses.
CD40 Ligand A co-stimulatory molecule which binds to the CD40 cell surface marker present on B cells. The CD40 ligand / CD40 pair mediates B cell proliferation, antibody production, and immunoglobulin class switching.
CD5 Cell surface marker present on certain B cells.
CD56 A protein found on natural killer cells (a type of white blood cell) as well as some T cells. CD56 also has a role in neural cell adhesion.
CD80 Cell surface marker, also called B7-1, present on a subpopulation of antigen presenting cells. CD80 is a critical mediator of activating these cells such that they participate in immune processes. Such participation requires its interaction with CD28 on the surface of T cells.
Cell The basic unit of living organisms, it is the smallest component of a living entity capable of independent existence.
Cell division The portion of the life cycle of a cell during which physical partitioning yields cell replication. In humans, two cell division processes predominate: mitosis and meiosis. In mitosis, somatic (body) cells divide to form two daughter cells, each with the same chromosome complement as their parent cell. In meiosis, germ (sperm or egg) cell precursors divide such that functionally specialized reproductive cells have half the chromosome complement of the parent cell.
Cell Line Cells grown in the laboratory that were originally derived from a particular cell type. Cell lines, such as pancreatic, hepatic, or tumor, are used extensively to study biological processes.
Cell Membrane The semi-permeable lipid bilayer that surrounds cells. The cell membrane permits certain molecules (such as water) to enter the cell, but blocks large molecules such as proteins unless specific transporter proteins are present in the cell membrane.
Cell Surface Protein A protein located on the surface of cells which is, at least in part, exposed to the extracellular space. Such proteins are able to be targeted by monoclonal antibodies and recombinant protein therapeutics.
Cell Therapy Using cells as a therapeutic. Many cell therapies involve giving the patient their own cells which have been removed, modified, expanded, and then re-injected. Lymphocytes, monocytes, and stem cells are some of the cell types used in cell therapies.
Cellulitis Colloquially, a skin infection. Technically, a diffuse, especially subcutaneous connective tissue inflammatory process of infectious or non-infectious etiology.
Centara (Centocor) An anti-CD4 monoclonal antibody being studied for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Central Nervous System The brain and spinal cord
Central Pontine Myelinolysis A neurodegenerative disorder characterized by degeneration of white matter (myelin containing nerves) that primarily affects the part of the brainstem called the pons.
Cerebellum The posterior portion of the brain between the cerebrum and the brain stem, it plays a significant role in gross coordination. Dysfunction of this area is evident in Friedreich Ataxia and related disorders.
Cerebral Cortex The outermost portion of the cerebrum, it is made up of layers of nerve cells and their interconnecting nerve pathways. Much of this area of the brain is responsible for processes relating to thought, perception, and memory. Dysfuction of this area is evident in Alzheimer disease and related disorders.
Cerebrospinal Fluid Clear, watery liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, it protects the central nervous system from injury and cushions it from the surrounding bony structure.
Cerebrum The two halves, hemispheres, of the brain including the cerebral cortex and the basal ganglia"
Ceremides Complex lipids, they are breakdown products of cerebrosides produced by specific skin cells as they migrate towards its surface. They have good moisturizing properties. Their pathology is also implicated in events in neurodegeneration and demyelinization.
Cervical Dysplasia Typically microscopic changes from normal in cells lining the cervix. A sequence of such changes from mild to severe may herald cervical cancer. Diagnosis is made from the Papanicolau (PAP) smear. Risk factors include multiple sexual partners, early onset of sexual activity (before age 18), early childbearing (before age 16), and a history of a sexually transmitted disease (STD, such as chlamydia, genital warts gonorrhea, genital herpes, and HIV). In women with HIV, the speed of cervical dysplasia changes is accelerated. Also known as ""cervical intrapithelial neoplasia (CIN).”"
Cervical Dystonia Also known as spasmodic torticollis, it is a neurological movement disorder in which a person’s neck and shoulder muscles have contractions that force the head and neck into abnormal and sometimes painful positions making it difficult for some patients to function normally.
CHD1 Gene A gene that regulates the expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism.
Chemiluminescent Low-temperature emission of light due to a chemical reaction.
Chemogenomics Vertex's name for its structural genomics platform.
Chemokine A small protein similar to a hormone which is released by one cell to signal to another.
Chemosensitize To overcome resistance to the effects of chemotherapy. To make sensitive.
Chemotherapy (1) Treatment of disease by chemicals that have a direct effect on the disease-causing organism or disease cells. (2) Colloquial name for certain forms of cancer treatment.
Chinese Hamster Ovary Cells (CHO Cells) A laboratory cell line originally derived from hamster ovaries, used to produce recombinant proteins.
Cholesterol The most common steroid in the body, it is essential in the formation of many crucial compounds active in the body: bile acids (which aid in the digestion of fats), Vitamin D, progesterone, estrogens (estradiol, estrone, estriol), androgens (androsterone, testosterone), mineralocorticoid hormones (aldosterone, corticosterone), and glucocorticoid hormones (cortisol). It is also important in preserving normal architecture and function of the membranes that surround cells. In the bloodstream, cholesterol is carried in a particle called a “lipoprotein,” as it is encased in proteins. These aggregates vary in their densities depending upon their degree of metabolism. "
Choline (2-hydroxyethyl)trimethylammonium ion, it is most often found in the body as a neurotransmitter combined with acetate: acetylcholine, as a component of cell membranes combined with lecithin, phosphatidylcholine; in other conjugated forms; or free waiting to be made into these crucial, conjugated forms.
Cholinergic Relating to nerve cells or fibers that utilize acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter.
Cholinesterase Short for acetylcholinesterase. Often refers to the class of anti-Alzheimer drugs, ""(acetyl)cholinesterase inhibitors." More formally, an enzyme whose substrate is any ester of choline, not just one that is acetylated.
Chondrodysplasia Malformation of cartilage, typically abutting areas of bone associated with the normal progression of increased stature (""growth plates:"" epiphyses and metaphyses, as well as ""shafts:"" diaphyses, and associated with the spine). Short stature often results.
CHOP Chemotherapy A combination of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisolone, a standard regimen many cancers. "
Chromosome Paired structures located in the nucleus of the vast majority of cells, each contains about 2 inches of wound-up DNA. Each normal human cell contains 46 chromosomes — 22 pairs of autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers. Sperm and egg cells each contain 23 chromosomes — one of each pair and one sex chromosome. There is also a chromosome in the mitochondria, whose constituents and behavior are vastly different.
Chronic Lasting a long time; often progressing slowly but surely.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease A disorder that persistently obstructs air flow to and from the lungs and its passages. The most common conditions of this category are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The obstruction is generally permanent and progresses (becomes worse) over time. Tobacco smoking is a key cause. Also known as chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD).
Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) A gradual, progressive, irreversible loss of the ability of the kidneys to function: excrete wastes, concentrate urine, and conserve electrolytes. Progression may continue to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The accumulation of fluid and waste products in the body is typically associated with azotemia (nitrogen waste products build up in the blood) and uremia (the state of renal failure-related poor health). Most organ systems are affected by chronic renal failure. The most common causes are diabetes mellitus, glomerulonephritis, polycystic kidney disease, hypertension, Alport syndrome, reflux nephropathy, obstructive uropathy, kidney stones and infection, and analgesic nephropathy. "
Chronic Renal Insufficiency (CRI) (1) Chronic renal failure not having progressed to end stage renal disease (2) That state, along a spectrum of clinical progression, thought neither to represent chronic renal failure nor normal kidney function, but leaning more so toward the former. "
Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor (CNF) Neurotrophin demonstrated to promote the differentiation and survival of various embryonic and more mature neuronal cell types. It is considered, by some, to be one of the IL-6 cytokine family because it acts through a receptor containing gp130. "
Circulatory Collapse Shock; a marked drop in a person's blood pressure and/or heart rate and/or heart pumping ability severe enough to put tissues at risk for malfunction and the individual at risk for death.
Cirrhosis A condition characterized by irreversible liver scarring. Alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C are among the myriad causes. Complications include mental confusion, coma, fluid accumulation (ascites), internal bleeding, and kidney failure. The goal of treatment is to arrest further liver damage and avoid the type of liver cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma. "
Clinical Involving or depending upon direct observation of living patients or study subjects.
Clinical Trials Trials are designed to test effectiveness, tolerability, and safety of drugs or treatments. Clinical trials in the United States are conducted under the supervision of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must be satisfactorily completed prior to the FDA granting license for the product to be brought to market. The trials seek to determine if the new drug more effective than what is currently being used, side effects, and the appropriate dosage. Randomized, double blind, controlled trials are the "gold standard" of clinical trials. Controlled testing involves comparing the outcomes associated with giving an experimental drug to one group with the outcomes associated with giving a placebo and/or another drug whose outcome profile has been well-studied to a control group. Randomized means that neither the subjects of a clinical trial nor those running the trial are allowed to choose which subjects will receive the drug being tested to prevent problems with bias. Double blind means that neither the subjects of a clinical trial nor those running the trial are allowed to know which subjects receive the drug being tested until the data has been collected. This is also to prevent problems with bias.
Clone (1) An individual developed from a single somatic (non-germ) cell from a parent, thus being an exact replica of that parent at the level of the DNA sequence. (2) A group of cells derived from a single ancestral cell such as in cancer. (3) DNA, RNA, another macromolecule, a cell, a tissue, or an organism that is a replica, at some genetic level, of one of its ancestors. "
C-myc A transcription factor involved in cell division and many other cellular processes.
Coagulation (1) The clotting of blood or the process by which blood clots. Coagulation is, essentially, initiated by blood cell fragments called platelets that produce a substance that combines with calcium to form thromboplastin. A complex cascade of biochemical reactions known as the clotting cascade use several blood clotting factors to set the stage for thromboplastin converting the protein prothrombin into thrombin. Thrombin converts the protein fibrinogen into fibrin. Fibrin, not soluble in water and therefore blood, contributes to the formation of a latticework of "fibrils," and in so doing causes the blood plasma to gel. Blood cells and plasma become enmeshed in this latticework to form a "clot." (2) To become more viscous or thickened into a mass such as with tissue coagulation by various means such as electrocoagulation, laser coagulation, or photocoagulation.
Coagulation Factor A protein in the plasma of the blood that mediates the clotting of blood
Coagulopathy Any of several known types of disturbances of blood coagulation.
Cognition The interrelated processes of knowing, thinking, learning, and judging. As a whole, also known as known as higher integrative functioning.
Colaris A test for genetic susceptibility to Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC), a specific type of colon and endometrial cancer caused by mutations in the MSH2 and MLH1 genes.
Collagen The most important structural protein of skin, tendons, cartilage, bone, and connective tissue.
Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID) An immune disorder characterized by a lack of antibody producing B cells or plasma cells, low circulating levels of most or all immunoglobulin classes, and recurrent bacterial infections. Some degree of T cell dysfunction is present in up to 50% of the patients. Also known as hypogammaglobulinemia"
Comparative Genomic Hybridization A molecular analytic technique that uses any of several fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) systems, or less often without fluorescence, to compare two DNA samples in terms of gene dosage or other genetic parameters. The technique has been especially useful in the study of chromosomal changes in cancer cells and cells of the products of conception (zygote, blastomere, embryo, fetus, placental membranes, etc.). The technique holds much promise to become a standard diagnostic, prognostic, and susceptibility characterizing tool.
Complement Dependent Cytotoxicity Type of cell destruction in which specific cell surface markers of doomed cells are coated with antibody allowing one of two processes to occur: 1) lysis 2) phagocytosis (engulfment by cells called macrophages, the garbage collectors of blood cells). This process requires complement, a group of proteins found in the serum.
Complement Proteins Part of the innate immune system, complement proteins are activated in a cascade of sequential protein cleavages that result in a complex of proteins that can perforate the surface of a target cell, causing that cell to die. Complement proteins, found in circulating blood, can be triggered by antibodies or other signals.
Complete Response A classical endpoint of both a clinical trial and a non-trial clinical experience, especially in oncology and rheumatology, it denotes achievement of a predetermined definition of “response (to therapy).” Definitions of response typically pertain to favorable parameters of, for instance, tumor size, tumor burden, plaque area, and other measurable clinical or biochemical markers or phenomena.
Condyloma Acuminatum Genital warts caused by specific versions of the human papillomaviruses (HPVs). It is the leading cause of abnormal Papanicolau (PAP) smears and pre-cancerous changes of the cervix.
Congestive Heart Failure The inability of the heart to pump enough blood to the meet the demands of the body’s tissues. Typically this occurs when the heart muscle is too weak and/or the resistance against the heart muscle’s pumping is too strong (as is the case in high blood pressure) and/or the valves of the heart fail to permit proper flow though its chambers or out to the body or lungs.
Conjugated Monoclonal Antibody A monoclonal antibody carrying a payload, such as radiation or chemotherapy.
Conjugation The process of chemically attaching two molecules together, such as a monoclonal antibody and another protein.
Conopeptides Small peptides isolated from the venom of predatory marine snails of the genus Conus.
Constant Region The half of the antibody molecule that interacts with the immune system but does not bind the antigen.
Conus Magus Fish-eating marine snail.
Cord blood Short for “umbilical cord blood,” it is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth. Within this blood are stem cells that can be harvested and manipulated by various means in order to yield therapeutic cells, tissues, and even organs. The autologous transplantation of these cells, tissues, and organs offer the promise of significantly less rejection than many of the various cell, tissue, and organ-matching systems offered today. Cord blood is collected after the baby is born and the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut. The stem cells are immediately available for transplantation. First used in transplants in 1988, a variety of life-threatening diseases including leukemia, other cancers, and blood and immune disorders, are amenable to this sort of therapy.
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) A surgical procedure indicated for specific groups of patients with clinically important narrowings and blockages of the coronary arteries. Bypassing these stenoses and blockages creates new routes for increased blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients heart muscle (myocardium). The actual bypass graft is typically a vein from the leg (most often, the saphenous vein) or an inner chest wall artery (most often, the internal mammary artery). These grafts are the conduits for bypassing the lesions that lead to chest pain, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and sudden death.
Coronary Artery Disease Narrowing or blockage of one or more of the coronary arteries resulting in decreased blood supply to the heart (ischemia).
Corticobasal Degeneration A rare neurological disease in which portions of the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia degenerate for unknown reasons. It shares many features in common with Parkinson disease.
Corticosteroids Specific hormones of the adrenal cortex, or their bioengeneered equivalents, which have potent anti-inflammatory properties, making them pharmacologically useful agents.
Cosmetic Use Pertaining to the use of an agent for the appearance of an individual. Such use of an agent neither requires FDA-approval nor appears on a product label.
Cripto A receptor for the protein Nodal, Cripto is part of the TGFb family of proteins that signal cell division, differentiation, and activation. Cripto has been implicated in development as well as in tumor progression. It is overexpressed on some human breast, colorectal, gastric, and pancreatic carcinomas.
Crohn Disease A form of inflammatory bowel disease characterized by, amongst other things, chronic inflammation of the small and large intestine, but which can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. When inflammation is limited to the large intestine (colon) only, it is often referred to as Crohn colitis or granulomatous colitis. Involvement of the small intestine alone is Crohn enteritis. Most often the portion of the small intestine affected by this disorder is the last portion, the ileum (Crohn ileitis). Involvement of both the small and large intestine is called Crohn enterocolitis (or ileocolitis).
Crossing Over The exchange of genetic material between two paired chromosomes in meiosis. The result of crossing over is that the recombination of DNA occurs such that each individual (except for identical twins) is genetically unique. The actual event or its result is often called ""a crossover.""
Cross-Reactivity Binding of a monoclonal antibody or other protein to a second target. The second target is usually not anticipated. If an antibody is cross-reactive between two antigens, binding to the second target can cause adverse events.
Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease A rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disorder that is invariably fatal, it is caused by infectious, ill-formed proteins or protein fragments called prions. "
CTLA-4 A cell surface protein found on white blood cells involved in stimulating other white blood cells.
Cutaneous Relating to the skin.
Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4 (CDK4) An enzyme involved in regulating cell growth and division, in a complex with a protein called cyclin D. CDK4 is often de-regulated in tumor cells, leading to uncontrolled growth. CDK4 is being developed as a drug target because blocking CDK4 activity may stop tumor growth. Similar anti-cancer drug targets include: (1) Natural blockers of CDK4 activity such as INK4 proteins (p15, p16, p18, and p19) and CIP/KIP proteins (p21, p27, and p57) and (2) Classical cell cycle regulators p53 and Rb.
Cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) One of two well characterized forms of the enzyme cyclooxygenase, it is expressed in response to a multitude of inflammatory stimuli. Normally present at low circulating levels, COX-2 regulates prostaglandin production primarily within inflammatory cells. The inflammatory response is a natural part of healing and repairing, and is also known to produce pain. Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), by non-specific COX-1 and -2 inhibition, and subsequent inhibition of prostaglandin release, suppresses this inflammatory response. Agents such as Celebrex and Vioxx have the advantage of selectively inhibiting COX-2, thereby eliminating COX-1 inhibition-mediated adverse effects such as gastrointestinal (GI) ulcerations, perforations, or obstructions due to the loss of COX-1 mediated repair and maintenance of GI lining tissue.
Cyclophosphamide The generic name for Bristol-Myer Squibb’s Cytoxan, it is used as an anti-cancer agent in many specific circumstances.
Cyclosporine The generic name of Novartis’ Neoral and Sandimmune as well as Abbott’s Gengraf, it is indicated to suppress the immune system in order to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs in individuals receiving a kidney, liver, or heart. It is also indicated for immunosuppression in severe rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, and is prescribed, off-label, for various circumstances in which suppression of the immune system is desirable.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) A single gene disorder which causes the body to produce thick, sticky mucus due to the faulty transport of salt within cells lining organs such as the lung, sinuses, and pancreas. This leads to coughing, wheezing, pneumonia, nutrient malabsorption, malnutrition, and susceptibility to infection. Most commonly found among Caucasians of Northern European descent.
Cytochrome p450 An enzyme found in the mitochondria of cells involved in energy generation and protein degradation. The primary clinical importance of the liver (hepatic) cytochrome p450 system is in its responsibility for a wide variety of drug metabolism reactions. An understanding of the system allows both prediction of drug interactions and understanding adverse effects related to too rapid or too slow a rate of drug compound breakdown by the system.
Cytokines Small proteins secreted by lymphocytes which initiate specific responses from nearby cells.
Cytoplasm The inside of cells is divided into the cytoplasm and the nucleus. The mitochondria and other oganelles are found in the cytoplasm.
Cytoplasmic Tail The portion of a cell membrane spanning protein that is inside the cell.
Cytotoxin A compound that is poisonous to cells. Many chemotherapies are cytotoxins.
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