Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) An aggressive (
fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too
many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are
found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) A rare type of
non-Hodgkin lymphoma that usually arises from T cells
(see T cell). The cells accumulate in the lymph nodes,
skin, bones, soft tissues, lungs, or liver. In some cases, the
anaplastic large cell lymphoma cells have the protein ALK
(see Anaplastic lymphoma receptor tyrosine kinase) on
Anaplastic lymphoma receptor tyrosine kinase (ALK) The
ALK gene makes the ALK protein, which is found on the
surface of some cells. The protein can initiate a variety
of signaling pathways (see Signaling pathway/signaling
network), causing proliferation of the cells on which it is
found. The ALK gene is altered in several types of cancer,
including some non–small cell lung carcinomas (see
Non–small cell lung carcinoma); some neuroblastomas
(see Neuroblastoma); and some lymphomas, in particular
anaplastic large cell lymphomas (see Anaplastic large
Angiogenesis The process of growing new blood vessels
from the existing vasculature. Angiogenesis is important for
numerous normal body functions, as well as tumor growth
Antibody–drug conjugate A therapeutic comprising
an antibody chemically linked to a traditional
chemotherapeutic. The antibody binds to specific proteins
on certain types of cells, including cancer cells. The linked
traditional chemotherapeutic enters these cells and kills
them without harming nearby cells.
Basal cell carcinoma A form of skin cancer that begins in
a type of cell in the skin that produces new skin cells as old
ones die off. It is the most common cancer, but it rarely
metastasizes (spreads to other parts of the body). Also
called basal cell cancer.
BCR-ABL A protein made from pieces of two unrelated
genes that are joined together. It is found in most patients
with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML; see Chronic
myelogenous leukemia), and in some patients with acute
lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL; see Acute lymphoblastic
leukemia) or acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Inside
the leukemia cells, the ABL gene from chromosome 9 joins
to the BCR gene on chromosome 22 to form the BCR-ABL
fusion gene, which makes the BCR-ABL fusion protein.
Biomedical inflation Biomedical inflation is calculated
using the annual change in the Biomedical Research and
Development Price Index (BRDPI), which indicates how
much the NIH budget must change to maintain purchasing
power. In general, the biomedical inflation rate outpaces the
economy-wide inflation rate.
Bispecific T cell–engager (Bi TE) antibody A therapeutic
engineered from two flexibly linked antibodies. One
antibody attaches to a specific protein on the target cell
type, for example, cancer cells, while the other antibody
attaches to a specific protein on immune cells called T cells
(see T cell). Thus, the Bi TE acts as a connector, bringing T
cells into close proximity with the target cell type.
Body mass index (BMI) Calculated as a person’s weight in
kilograms divided by height in meters. BMI provides an
indicator of body fatness for most people, and it is often
used to determine whether a person is underweight, of
healthy weight, overweight, or obese.
BRAF The BRAF protein is generated from the BRAF gene.
It is found inside certain cell types, where it is involved in
sending signals that direct cell proliferation. Mutations in
the BRAF gene have been associated with various cancers,
including some non-Hodgkin lymphomas, colorectal
cancers, melanomas, thyroid cancers, and lung cancers.
BRCA1/2 (Breast Cancer Resistance Genes 1 and 2) Genes
that produce proteins that are involved in repairing
damaged DNA. Females who inherit certain mutations
(see Mutation) in a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene are at increased
risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and some
other types of cancer. Males who inherit certain BRCA1 or
BRCA2 mutations are at increased risk of developing breast
cancer, prostate cancer, and some other types of cancer.
Breast cancer Cancer that forms in tissues of the breast. The
most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma,
which begins in the lining of the milk ducts (thin tubes
that carry milk from the lobules of the breast to the nipple).
Another type of breast cancer is lobular carcinoma, which
begins in the lobules (milk glands) of the breast. Invasive
breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread from where it
began in the breast ducts or lobules to surrounding normal
tissue. Breast cancer occurs in both men and women,
although male breast cancer is rare.
Cancer A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide
without control and can invade nearby tissues. Cancer
cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the
blood and lymph systems. There are several main types of
cancer. Carcinomas begin in the skin or in tissues that line
or cover internal organs. Sarcomas begin in bone, cartilage,
fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive
tissue. Leukemias arise in blood-forming tissue, such as the
bone marrow, and cause large numbers of abnormal blood
cells to be produced and enter the blood. Lymphomas and
multiple myeloma originate in the cells of the immune
system. Central nervous system cancers arise in the tissues
of the brain and spinal cord. Also called malignancy.
Carcinogen Any substance that causes cancer.
Cervical cancer A term for cancers arising in the cervix
(the area where the uterus connects to the vagina). The two
main types of cervical cancer are squamous cell carcinoma
and adenocarcinoma. Most cervical cancers are caused
by persistent infection with certain strains of human
papillomavirus (HPV; see Human papillomavirus). Normal
cells of the cervix do not suddenly become cancerous;
they first gradually develop precancerous changes, then