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Term Definition
T Cell A white blood cell derived from the thymus that plays a key role in the immune response against viruses or against "foreign cells" including transplanted organs and tissues and cancer cells.
Tachycardia Rapid heart rate.
Tachyphylaxis The rapid onset of a progressive decline in clinical response following repetitive administration of a pharmacologically or physiologically active agent.
Tachypnea Rapid respiratory rate.
Tangles Short for "neurofibrillary tangles," the pathological hallmark of degenerate brain nerve cells affected by Alzheimer disease. They are made up of a renegade version of a protein called tau.
Target Molecules, parts of molecules, molecular processes, and constituents of molecular processes that can be affected by a drug. The best targets tend to have the greatest degrees of specificity.
Target Validation The process of demonstrating, by a variety of techniques, that a drug interacting with a given target could have a therapeutic effect.
Tau A poorly-understood, microtubule-associated protein, it is the predominant protein component of the paired helical filaments and neurofibrillary tangles characteristic of specific pathological lesions of the Alzheimer disease brain. One of its normal roles involves assistance in the formation of microtubules, elements in cytoplasm that participate in chromosome movement during phases of the cell cycle leading to cell division.
Telomerase The enzyme required for replication of the ends of chromosomes, known as telomeres. Dividing cells must express telomerase to avoid having chromosomes shrink with each cell division, which eventually results in apoptosis. Cancer cells often activate telomerase expression.
Telomere The DNA located at the end of each chromosome. The enzyme telomerase is required to properly replicate telomeres.
Teratogen An drug or other agent that causes abnormal embryonic or fetal development (birth defects).
Testosterone Male sex hormone (androgen) secreted by the interstitial cells of the testis and responsible for triggering the development of sperm and of many secondary sexual characteristics.
Tetracycline An antibiotic class that targets the 30S ribosomal subunit of bacteria, blocking the ability to synthesize proteins. "
TGFb A cytokine (small signaling molecule) produced by certain white blood cells that signals other cells to divide or perform other cellular functions. Originally identified as a T cell growth factor.
TGFb Superfamily The family of related cytokines (small hormone like signaling proteins) that effect the growth of white blood cells and other cell types. Originally isolated as a tumor growth factor.
Thalidomide N-(2,6)-dioxo-3-(piperidyl)phthalimide, originally indicated as a sedative-hypnotic, it is an agent that has been discovered to have anti-angiogenic and immunomodulatory effects. The generic of Celgene’s Thalomid, it is indicated for the treatment of the skin condition, erythema nodosum leprosum, in leprosy and is being investigated in several anti-cancer settings.
Therapeutic Used to treat a disease or condition, as opposed to diagnostic or for research.
Thrombin The fundamental clotting enzyme that converts fibrinogen to fibrin after a long series of molecular events initiates blood clot formation. Interference with its action has an anticoagulant effect.
Thrombocytopenia A reduction in circulating platelets, which are also known as thrombocytes. Thrombocytopenia may be due to increased destruction or decreased production. Chemotherapy, radiation, and HIV infection are common causes for decreased production, while the administration of the anticoagulation agent heparin, and various immunologically mediated mechanisms, including those contributing to idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) are common causes for increased destruction. The preferred treatment is to correct its underlying cause. However, when that is not possible, and the patient is at a high risk for hemorrhage, a platelet transfusion may be used. Pharmacologic intervention may, infrequently, be used to reduce the need for transfusions.
Thrombolytic An agent that, by virtue of interfering with specific biochemical pathways, effectively dissolves clots (thrombi), thereby re-opening vessels. Streptokinase, tPA, Urokinase, Alteplase, and Reteplase are examples.
Thrombus Blood clot.
Thyroid Located in the lower portion of the neck, it is a butterfly-shaped gland, an organ that produces hormones essential for the function of virtually every cell in the body. The thyroid hormones are involved in the regulation of metabolic biochemical reactions as well as growth and development. The thyroid manufactures and stores hormones that are most well-known for the regulation of heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and the rate at which food is converted into energy.
Tissue Factor A protein that, along with Factor VIIa and others, is responsible for triggering the blood clotting system in normal hemostasis (bleeding arrest) and the majority of cases of abnormal hemostasis resulting in thrombotic (clotting) diseases. Interruption of its activities may be therapeutic when abnormal hemostasis is implicated in a disease process.
Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) One of a group of related proteins whose most prominent biological role is in breaking down blood clots. Recombinant analogs are the thrombolytics, clot-busters, Activase and TNKase from Genentech and Retevase from Johnson & Johnson.
Topical Relating to a surface area. Applying a topical agent to a given area on the skin, for instance, is intended to affect only that area. Whether the agent's effects prove limited to that area generally depends upon whether it stays there or is absorbed into the bloodstream or transferred to another area (such as the eye).
Totipotent Stem Cell A stem cell that can develop into any cell type (i.e. the cell formed by the fusion of the egg and sperm).
Toxicology The science that deals with poisons and their effects (pharmacologic, clinical, industrial, or legal). The pharmacologic and clinical aspects are considered in basic pharmacokinetic studies.
Toxin A compound that is poisonous.
Transchromosomal Mouse A transgenic mouse that contains an extra, artificial chromosome.
Transcription Factor A protein that binds to DNA in order to guide and activate a different molecule, called RNA polymerase, whose function it is to synthesize RNA from DNA. Once formed, the RNA is most often translated into a protein.
Transdermal Relating to, being, or delivering a medication in a manner for absorption through skin into the subcutaneous tissue and/or bloodstream.
Transfusion The transfer of blood or blood products (components such as cells or plasma) from the bloodstream of a donor into that of a recipient. Transfusion of one's own blood (autologous) is the safest method but requires planning ahead and not all patients are eligible. Directed donor blood permits the recipient to receive blood from known donors. Typically, however, volunteer donor blood is most readily available and, when properly tested is associated with a low incidence of adverse events. "
Triglycerides A lipid form whose levels correlate with very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and chylomicron levels. Very low density lipoproteins tend toward being a “bad” cholesterol element, as elevated levels of VLDL can predispose to coronary artery disease and elevated levels of chylomicrons can predispose to acute pancreatitis and other conditions. See “cholesterol” entry.
Triple Blind Bias-minimizing study technique relying upon analytic statisticians' lack of knowledge of which study participants are in which comparison group(s) in addition to the double-blind bias-reduction technique of both the participants and the investigators kept unaware of which participants are in which group(s).
Triptans Class of anti-migraine drugs that are 5-HT 1B/1D agonists, and act on serotonin receptors in the brain and cause blood vessels to narrow (constrict) by virtue of an actual or mimicked elevation in serotonin.
Tuberculosis A disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Although it can affect any tissue or organ, the most common site of pathologic infection is the lungs"
Tubulin A protein that polymerizes to form microtubules, a part of the cytoskeleton within cells. Microtubules are important for cell stability and various cell-associated movements, such as cell division and the movements of motile cells such as sperm or cilia.
Tumor A growth characterized by abnormal rate of growth and abnormal structure. Tumors can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
Tumor Classification Categorizing tumors. This ranges from simple categories such as site of origin and whether the tumor is benign of malignant to more complex categories that include distance of metastatic spread and the degree to which the tumor cells resemble normal cells of the same tissue. Molecular, genomic, and proteomic technologies increase the ability to sub-categorize tumors in novel ways with the hope that such precision will translate into better drug targets and other means of enhanced ability to make medical intervention. "
Tumor Necrosis Factor a (TNFa) A cytokine (small signaling molecule) produced by macrophages and other white blood cells that signals other cells to divide or perform other cellular functions. Along with IL-1, TNFa is a principal mediator of inflammation.
Tumor Suppressor Gene A gene whose encoded protein normally limits the growth and division of cells. When a tumor suppressor gene is mutated, it may fail to keep a cancer from growing. BRCA1 and p53 are well-known tumor suppressor genes.
Turner Syndrome A genetic disorder affecting females who have either only one X chromosome in some or all cells or has two Xs, but one is damaged. Signs include short stature, delayed skeletal growth, short fourth and fifth fingers, broad chest, and sometimes cardiovascular abnormalities. Women are typically infertile due to ovarian failure. Treatment may include human growth hormone and estrogen replacement therapy. "
Type I Error In hypothesis testing, the conclusion that a treatment or intervention has a desired effect when it really does not. Also known as a false positive or alpha error.
Type II Error In hypothesis testing, the conclusion that a treatment or intervention does not have a desired effect when it really does. Also known as a false negative or beta error.
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