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Easy access to terms related to cancer immunotherapy and clinical trials

    A
  • Ablative treatment

    Ablative treatment is the use of heat, extreme cold, lasers, or a chemical to destroy cancerous tissue.

  • Adenocarcinoma

    Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC. It accounts for approximately 40% of NSCLC tumors.

  • Adenovirus

    Adenovirus is a common virus that can cause mild infections of the lung, stomach, intestine, and eye. Recently, inactivated forms of the adenovirus have been used as vaccine-delivery vehicles, due to their well-known structure, which makes them easier for scientists to modify.

  • Adjuvant Immunotherapies

    Adjuvant immunotherapies are substances that are either used alone or combined with other immunotherapies to boost the immune response even more.

  • Adoptive T Cell Transfer

    Adoptive T cell transfer is an anticancer approach that enhances the natural cancer-fighting ability of the body’s T cells by removing immune system cells, growing and/or making changes to them outside of the body, and then re-infusing them back into the patient.

  • Alpha Galactosyltransferase

    Alpha galactosyltransferase, or alpha-gal, is an enzyme that produces an immune response when it reacts with antibodies.

  • Ampullary Cancer

    Ampullary cancer is a malignant tumor located in the pancreas, near where it meets the wall of the small intestine.

  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK)

    Anaplastic lymphoma kinase, also called ALK, is a biomarker found in certain patients with lung cancer. Patients with ALK-positive lung tumors may be candidates for targeted therapies that can improve prognosis and decrease risk for side effects.

  • Antibodies

    Antibodies are proteins that bind to antigens on harmful invaders in the body (eg, germs and viruses). Also mark cells for attack and destruction by other immune cells.

  • Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs)

    Antibody-drug conjugates (or ADCs) are an innovative cancer treatment in which a chemotherapy drug is attached to an antibody that facilitates delivery into target cancer cells.

  • Antigen

    An antigen is any substance (for example, a protein) that causes the immune system to respond.

  • Appendix

    The appendix is a thin tube about 4 to 6 inches long that sits in the lower right abdomen. The exact function of the appendix is unknown, but one theory is that it acts as a storage site for “good” digestive bacteria.

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    B
  • B Cells

    B cells are cells that release antibodies to defend against harmful invaders in the body. Each is programmed to make one specific antibody (eg, to the common cold virus).

  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

    Benign prostatic hyperplasia (or BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate gland that is not associated with cancer. The condition, which becomes more common as men age, results in changes in urinary flow and frequency. 

  • Biomarkers

    Biomarkers are proteins or genes that provide a more detailed understanding of the tumor, its prognosis, and the potential response to treatment.

  • Biopsy

    A biopsy is a procedure in which a doctor removes a small sample of tissue. This sample is then examined under a microscope so that cellular abnormalities can be observed.

  • Bi-Specific Antibodies (BiTEs)

    Bi-specific antibodies, or BiTEs, are a type of monoclonal antibody that targets multiple antigens.

  • Blast Cells

    Blast cells are the immature white blood cells that become abnormal and accumulate in the bone marrow and blood in cases of leukemia.

  • Bone Marrow

    Bone marrow is the soft, sponge-like material found inside bones. Contains immature cells that divide to form more blood-forming stem cells, or mature into red blood cells, white blood cells (B cells and T cells), and platelets.

  • BRCA1/BRCA2 Genes

    BRCA1/BRCA2 genes (BReast CAncer genes 1,2) are tumor suppressor genes that produce proteins used in cellular repair of breast tissue. A mutation in BRCA1/BRCA2 genes decreases the body’s ability to suppress breast tumors, thereby increasing the risk for breast cancer. Women who inherit a mutation in BRCA1/BRCA2 genes have an approximately 60% increased lifetime risk for breast cancer.

  • Breast

    The breast is the tissue that overlies the ribcage and chest muscle. In women, breasts are part of the female reproductive system and are comprised of glandular tissue that produces milk (lobules) in addition to fatty and lymphatic tissue. The female breasts also contain a network of ducts, which convey milk from the lobules to the nipple.

  • Breast Cancer

    In breast cancer, malignant (cancerous) cells grow abnormally in the breast. If left undetected or untreated, breast cancer can grow into surrounding tissues or metastasize to distant areas of the body. While breast cancer occurs almost exclusively in women, men can also be affected. Signs of breast cancer include a lump in the breast and nipple or breast skin changes.

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    C
  • CA 19-9

    CA 19-9 is a tumor marker used to assess the presence of pancreatic tumors.

  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA)

    Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a protein found in the tissues of a developing baby. Levels of CEA are greatly reduced after birth. High levels of CEA in adults may be a sign of some types of cancer.

  • CD4 + T-helper Cells

    CD4 + T-helper cells are cells that send “help” signals to the other immune cells (ie, CD8+ killer T cells) to make them more efficient at destroying harmful invaders. Also maintain lines of communication with B cells.

  • CD8+ Killer T Cells

    CD8+ killer T cells are cells that destroy thousands of bacteria and viruses each day. They can even seek out and destroy cancer cells.

  • Checkpoint Inhibitors

    Checkpoint inhibitors are drugs used to "release the brakes" on the immune system, allowing the body to respond more aggressively to cancer.

  • Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy, often called "chemo," is a treatment with drugs that kill cancer cells. This treatment can be used alone or with surgery and/or radiation.

  • Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells (CAR-Ts)

    Chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-Ts) are a type of engineered T cell used in adoptive T cell transfer. They are equipped with special receptors called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) that recognize specific proteins on cancer cells and eliminate those cells.

  • Cholangiopancreatography

    Cholangiopancreatography is the use of endoscopy combined with fluoroscopy to diagnose cancerous tumors in the pancreas.

  • Clinical Trials

    Clinical trials are an important part of medical research that form the basis for the approval of all new treatments. The primary goals are to figure out whether a treatment works and if it is safe.

  • C-Met

    C-met is a protein that may be overactive in certain cancers, leading to the formation of new blood vessels that help spread the cancer to other organs.

  • Combined Trials

    Combined trials are designed by some researchers to combine phase I/II or phase II/III into a single trial.

  • Complete Response (CR)

    Complete response, commonly referred to as CR, is the complete disappearance of a tumor or cancer lesion as a result of treatment.

  • Control Group

    The control group of a randomized trial receives either standard of care therapy or placebo—not the experimental treatment being studied.

  • CTLA-4 Inhibitors

    CTLA-4 inhibitors belong to the family of “immune checkpoint inhibitors”—a type of immunotherapy that helps in controlling the body’s immune response to cancer.

  • Cytokines

    Cytokines are messenger molecules that help control the growth and activity of immune system cells, as well as blood cells.

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    D
  • Dendritic Cells

    Dendritic cells digest foreign and cancerous proteins and present them to other immune cells to destroy them.

  • Diaphram

    The diaphragm is a large, dome-shape muscle that sits below the lungs. The regular contraction and relaxation of the diaphragm enables the lungs to fill and empty with air.

  • Double-Blind Trial

    In a double-blind trial, neither the patient nor the study researchers know who is receiving the experimental treatment.

  • Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)

    Ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, is a type of breast cancer that begins in the duct cells. DCIS is typically considered “pre-cancer” as it has not invaded the breast tissue or spread in the body. Women diagnosed with DCIS have a very high likelihood of being cured.

  • Ducts of the Breast

    The ducts of the breast form a network of tiny tubes that carry milk from the milk-producing lobules to the nipple. Most breast cancers begin in the cells that line the ducts and are therefore called “ductal cancers.”

  • Durable Response (DR)

    Durable response, commonly referred to as DR, is the length of time that a patient experiences a complete or partial response as a result of treatment.

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    E
  • Endocrine

    The endocrine part of the pancreas releases insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream.

  • Endoscopic Ultrasound

    Endoscopic ultrasound uses a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope that has a built-in miniature ultrasound probe to explore the digestive tract and create visual images with sound waves.

  • Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR)

    Epidermal growth factor receptor, also called EGFR, is a biomarker found in certain patients with lung cancer. Patients with EGFR-positive lung tumors may be candidates for targeted therapies that can improve prognosis and decrease risk for side effects.

  • Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)

    Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is also called herpesvirus 4. EBV can be transmitted through saliva and other bodily fluids and is associated with diseases such as mononucleosis, lymphoma, and head and neck cancer.

  • Estrogen-Receptor Positive (ER+) Breast Cancer

    In estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer, breast cancer cells receive growth signals from the female hormone estrogen. Hormonal therapies for ER+ breast cancer therefore seek to lower the amount of estrogen in the body and block its action on breast tissue.

  • Exclusion Criteria

    Exclusion criteria are characteristics that disqualify patients from participating in a clinical trial. These criteria may include gender, age, type of disease being treated, previous treatments, and other medical conditions.

  • Exocrine

    The exocrine part of the pancreas produces digestive enzymes that are released into the small intestine.

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    G
  • Gastrinoma

    A gastrinoma is a tumor that secretes a hormone called gastrin and is usually found in the pancreas or small intestine.

  • Genetic Mutations

    Genetic mutations are changes in the genetic sequence. Some genetic mutations are associated with some types of cancer.

  • Gland Cells

    Gland cells produce the secretions that constitute many common types of bodily fluid, including semen, mucus, and saliva.

  • Gleason System

    Pathologists use the Gleason system to assess prostate tumor cells. By observing prostate tumor cells under a microscope and scoring the different cellular patterns observed, pathologists are able to determine if a tumor is more or less likely to spread. 

  • Glucagon

    Glucagon is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Glucagon is released into the bloodstream when blood sugar is low (eg, between meals) in order to release sugar stored in the liver.

  • Glycolipids

    Glycolipids are lipids with a carbohydrate attached. Glycolipids provide energy and serve as markers for cellular recognition.

  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF)

    Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, commonly referred to as GM-CSF, is a type of cytokine that stimulates the bone marrow to make more immune cells and blood cells.

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    H
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF)

    Hepatocyte growth factor, or HGF, is a cytokine that is released after tissue injury. In patients with lung cancer, higher levels of HGF may indicate more aggressive disease.

  • Hormone-Lowering Therapy

    Hormone-lowering therapy is also called androgen deprivation therapy or androgen suppression therapy. The goal of this type of treatment is to reduce levels of male hormones (androgens) in the body, as these hormones can make prostate tumors grow.  

  • Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-2 (HER2)

    The human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) gene makes proteins responsible for maintaining healthy cell growth, division and repair of breast tissue. When there is a mutation in the HER2 gene, HER2 receptors are overexpressed. This overexpression makes breast cells grow and divide in an uncontrolled way, which can play a role in the development of cancer

  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

    Human papilloma virus (HPV) infects the DNA of the skin or mucus membrane and is known to cause head and neck cancer, cervical cancer, and other forms. Of the many known strains, HPV16 and HPV18 are thought to be the most dangerous.

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    I
  • IDO Pathway Inhibitors

    IDO pathway inhibitors block activity of an enzyme called IDO, which has been found in tumor cells. The IDO enzyme is believed to play a role in suppressing the immune system, which may keep the body from fighting cancer effectively.

  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors/Modulators

    Immune checkpoints play a key role in controlling immune responses. Checkpoint inhibitors can be used to "release the brakes" allowing the immune system to respond appropriately to the cancer. This is a "negative signaling " approach. Immunotherapies may also stimulate immune responses controlled by these checkpoints. This is a "positive signaling" approach.

  • Immune Modulators

    Immune modulators are drugs used to “step on the gas” of the immune response, allowing the body to respond more aggressively to cancer

  • Immune System

    The immune system is a highly evolved network of organs, cells, and molecules that helps defend the body against threats such as bacteria, viruses—and even cancer.

  • Immune-Related Complete Response (irCR)

    Immune-related complete response is a measure of effectiveness used in cancer immunotherapy clinical trials. It is defined as the complete disappearance of all tumors identified at the beginning of the trial, as well as any new tumors.

  • Immune-Related Partial Response (irPR)

    Immune-related partial response is a measure of effectiveness used in cancer immunotherapy clinical trials. It is defined as a decrease of ≥50% in the total tumor size and/or total number of tumors since the start of the trial.

  • Immune-Related Progressive Disease

    Immune-related progressive disease is a measure of effectiveness used in cancer immunotherapy clinical trials. It is defined as an increase of ≥25% in total tumor size and/or number of tumors since the start of the trial.

  • Immune-Related Stable Disease (irSD)

    Immune-related stable disease is a measure of effectiveness used in cancer immunotherapy clinical trials. It is defined as a response that does not meet the criteria for irCR or irPR but also does not indicate that cancer is getting worse.

  • Immunohistochemistry (IHC)

    Immunohistochemistry, or IHC, is a screening test that can be performed on breast cancer tissue removed during a biopsy. IHC can be used to show whether cancer cells have HER2 overexpression and/or hormone receptors on the cell surface. When testing for HER2, IHC assigns a score of 0 to 3+ to the amount of HER2 receptor protein on the surface of breast cancer cells. An IHC score of 3+ (IHC 3+) means that a breast tumor is HER2 positive (HER2+).

  • Immunomodulation

    Immunomodulation is the augmentation of the immune response in order to fight cancer and other disorders.

  • Immuno-oncology

    Immuno-oncology, also called cancer immunotherapy, is a scientifically advanced therapy that uses the body’s own immune system to treat cancer.

  • Immunotherapy

    Immunotherapy is one of the most promising and scientifically advanced cancer treatments available today. Cancer immunotherapy is unique because it uses the power of the body’s own immune system to treat cancer. Immunotherapy can be used for many types of cancer, either alone or in combination with other treatments.

  • Inclusion Criteria

    Inclusion criteria are the characteristics that patients must have in order to be considered for a clinical trial. These criteria may include gender, age, type of disease being treated, previous treatments, and other medical conditions.

  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC

    Inflammatory breast cancer, or IBC, is an uncommon type of breast cancer in which there is usually no single lump or tumor. Rather, cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin of the breast, causing it to look red and feel warm. Over time, IBC may give breast skin a thick, pitted “orange peel” appearance. The affected breast may become larger or firmer, and may be tender or itchy.

  • Insulin

    Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin is released into the bloodstream to control sugar intake in the body. More insulin is released when blood sugar is high (eg, after meals).

  • Insulinoma

    An insulinoma is a tumor that develops in the beta cells of the pancreas and secretes insulin.

  • Interferons (IFN)

    Interferons, commonly referred to as IFN, are a type of cytokine that boosts the ability of certain immune cells to attack invaders like viruses or cancer cells.

  • Interleukins (IL)

    Interleukins, commonly referred to as IL, are cytokines that help immune cells grow and divide more quickly.

  • Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasms (IPMN)

    Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) are tumors that grow within the pancreatic ducts and are filled with mucin.

  • Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)

    Invasive ductal carcinoma, or IDC, is the most common type of invasive breast cancer. IDC begins in the duct cells of the breast but then invades (spreads) deeper into the breast tissue. IDC may also metastasize to other areas of the body.

  • Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC)

    Invasive lobular carcinoma, or ILC, is an uncommon type of breast cancer that begins in the milk-producing lobule cells and invades (spreads) deeper into the breast tissue. ILC can also metastasize to other areas of the body.

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    K
  • Kidney Cancer

    Kidney cancer occurs in the renal (kidney) tissue and surrounding area. The most common type is called renal cell cancer, or renal cell carcinoma. Another type is called transitional cell carcinoma and occurs in the renal pelvis where the urine collects. In children, the main type of kidney cancer is called Wilms' tumor.

  • Killer Cell Immunoglobulin-Like Receptors (KIRs)

    KIRs (or killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors) are found on the surface of natural killer (NK) cells. When activated, they can suppress the cancer-fighting ability of NK cells. 

  • K-ras Mutation (KRAS 1)

    A K-ras mutation called KRAS 1 is a biomarker found in certain patients with lung cancer. Patients with KRAS 1-positive lung tumors may be candidates for targeted therapies that can improve prognosis and decrease risk for side effects.

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    L
  • LAG-3

    LAG-3 is a protein found on the surface of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). LAG-3 proteins can suppress the natural ability of TILs to kill tumor cells.

  • Large cell carcinoma

    Large cell carcinoma, also called undifferentiated carcinoma, is a type of non-small cell lung cancer (or NSCLC). Large cell carcinomas account for 10% to 15% of NSCLC tumors. The name “large cell” refers to the appearance of these cancer cells under the microscope.

  • Larynx

    The larynx is the part of the respiratory system that contains the vocal cords. It is located in the throat, between the pharynx and the trachea.

  • Ligands

    Ligands are molecules that can attach (bind) to and regulate proteins such as receptors and enzymes—to help control the immune response.

  • Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS)

    Lobular carcinoma in situ, or LCIS, is not a cancer, but an overgrowth of cells that occurs in the milk-producing lobules. Women with LCIS have an increased likelihood of developing invasive breast cancer in the future.

  • Lobules of the Breast

    The lobules of the breast are milk-producing glands that are part of the female reproductive system. Certain types of breast cancer begin in the cells that line the lobules and are therefore called “lobular cancers.”

  • Lungs

    The lungs are a pair of spongy, air-filled respiratory organs located on either side of the chest. Each lung is made up of sections called lobes. Inhaling fills the lobes with oxygen and exhaling expels carbon dioxide.

  • Lymph

    Lymph is the clear liquid that flows through the lymphatic vessels and contains white blood cells called lymphocytes. These cells are important in fighting infections and cancer.

  • Lymph Nodes

    Lymph nodes are small glands located throughout the body that filter bacteria, viruses—even cancer cells—that are then destroyed by special white blood cells. Also the site where T cells are “educated” to destroy harmful invaders in your body.

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    M
  • Macrophages

    Macrophages are cells known as the “big eaters” of the immune system for their ability to engulf and destroy bacteria and other harmful things. They also present antigens to other cells of the immune system.

  • Median Overall Survival (OS)

    Median overall survival, commonly referred to as median OS, is the time point at which 50% of patients in a trial are expected to have survived.

  • Melanocytes

    Melanocytes are a type of skin cell that make a brown pigment called melanin. When exposed to the sun, melanin causes the skin to darken (as in a suntan). It also helps protect the deeper layers of the skin from some of the harmful effects of the sun.

  • Melanoma

    Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in skin cells called melanocytes. Melanoma tumors can occur anywhere in the skin and spread to other areas of the body. Melanoma is also referred to as “malignant melanoma” and “cutaneous melanoma.”

  • Mesothelin

    Mesothelin is a protein that is normally found in the membranes of organs. Certain tumors, including mesothelioma, pancreatic cancer, and ovarian cancer, have been shown to contain a higher-than-normal amount of mesothelin, making it a cancer-associated antigen.

  • Mesothelin Antigen

    Mesothelin antigen is a protein that is normally found in the membranes of organs, such as the lungs. Certain tumors, including mesothelioma, have been shown to contain a higher-than-normal amount of mesothelin antigen.

  • Mesothelioma

    Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the membrane lining the lungs and is most commonly linked to asbestos exposure.

  • Metastatic Disease

    Metastatic disease refers to cancer that has spread through the blood or lymph system to form new tumors in other parts of the body distinct from the original site.

  • Modifiable Risk Factors

    Modifiable risk factors for illness or disease are those individual factors that can be controlled through personal actions (eg, following a healthy diet, exercising, or avoiding smoking), or through medical management (eg, medication). 

  • Monoclonal Antibodies

    Monoclonal antibodies are a special type of protein designed to target antigens, or markers, located on the surface of cancer cells; antibodies locate antigens and recruit immune cells to attack.

  • Mucinous Cystic Neoplasms (MCN)

    Mucinous cystic neoplasms (MCN) are a form of pancreatic tumor. The cysts of this tumor are filled with a protein called mucin.

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    N
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

    Non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC, is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for approximately 90% of all lung cancer cases. The name “non-small cell” refers to the appearance of these cancer cells under the microscope.

  • The Notch Pathway

    The notch pathway is a signaling pathway that is active during embryonic development and may play a role in T cell regulation.

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    O
  • Objective Response (OR)

    Objective response, commonly referred to as OR, denotes either a partial or a complete response based on the criteria outlined in the study.

  • Oncolytic Virus Immununotherapy

    Oncolytic virus immununotherapy uses a modified virus that can both cause tumor cells to self destruct and activate a greater immune response.

  • Open-Label Trials

    In open-label trials, all patients receive (and know they are receiving) the experimental treatment being studied.

  • Overall Survival (OS)

    Overall survival, commonly referred to as OS, is the length of time from either the date of diagnosis or the start of treatment that patients are still alive.

  • OX40 Receptors

    OX40 receptors are found on the surface of T cells. When activated, they can enhance the cancer-fighting ability of T cells.

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    P
  • Paget’s Disease

    Paget’s disease is a rare type of breast cancer that starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the nipple and areola (dark skin around the nipple). In Paget’s disease, the skin of the nipple appears cru’s disease begin as ductal carcinoma in situ or infiltrating ductal carcinoma.

  • Pancreas

    The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach, bordering the spleen and small intestine. The pancreas is made up of two parts: endocrine and exocrine.

  • Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

    Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is a tumor that develops in the cell lining of the exocrine ducts. It is the most common type of pancreatic cancer and can grow anywhere in the pancreas.

  • Panorex X-Ray

    A panorex X-ray is used in dentistry and some head and neck cancers to show both the upper and lower jaws and teeth in the same X-ray image.

  • Partial Response (PR)

    Partial response, commonly referred to as PR, is a partial decrease in the size of a cancerous tumor or a decrease in the total number of cancer lesions.

  • PD-1/PD-L1 Inhibitors

    PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors belong to the family of "immune checkpoint inhibitors"—a type of immunotherapy that helps in controlling the body’s immune response to cancer.

  • Peritoneum

    The peritoneum is the membrane that covers the organs of the abdomen and lines the abdominal cavity.

  • Personalized Vaccination

    In personalized vaccination, a cancer vaccine is created for a patient using a combination of antigens made from the patient’s own tumor.

  • Pharynx

    The pharynx is the part of the respiratory system that lies behind and below the nasal passages, connecting the sinus cavity and mouth to the larynx.

  • Phase I Trial

    A phase I trial is an early trial that generally enrolls less than 50 patients. The purpose of these trials may include seeing how a treatment affects the human body and establishing a safe dose.

  • Phase II Trial

    A phase II trial is an intermediate-stage trial that is composed of less than 100 patients. The purpose of these trials may include determining if a treatment is effective for a particular type of cancer.

  • Phase III Trial

    A phase III trial is a large-scale trial that generally enrolls more than 100 patients. The purpose of this trial is to compare a new treatment (or a suggested new treatment) with either a placebo product or the current standard of care.

  • Placebo

    Placebo is a "dummy" treatment, or sugar pill, that is designed to look like the treatment being tested, but is not active.

  • Preventative Cancer Vaccines

    Preventative cancer vaccines target infectious agents that cause or contribute to the development of cancer. Similar to traditional vaccines, they help the immune system identify antigens.

  • Progesterone-Receptor Positive (PR+) Breast Cancer

    In progesterone-receptor positive (PR+) breast cancer, breast cancer cells receive growth signals from the female hormone progesterone. Hormonal therapies for PR+ breast cancer therefore seek to lower the amount of progesterone in the body and block its action on breast tissue.

  • Progression-Free Survival (PFS)

    Progression-free survival, commonly referred to as PFS, is the length of time during and after the treatment of a disease (eg, cancer) that a patient lives with the disease but it does not get worse. Note that survival benefits, such as PFS, may be defined differently in cancer immunotherapy trials.

  • Prostate

    The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system that helps make semen—the fluid that nourishes sperm. 

  • Prostate Cancer

    Prostate cancer is a type of tumor that forms in the tissues of the prostate. It is one of the most common cancers in men, and usually affects older adults (>65 years of age).

  • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)

    Prostate-specific antigen (or PSA) is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland. While PSA is found mostly in semen, it is also found in smaller concentrations in the blood. These blood PSA levels are used as part of routine screening to assess a man’s risk for prostate cancer.

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    R
  • Radiation

    Radiation, or radiation therapy, uses high-energy particles or waves to destroy or damage cancer cells. One of the most common treatments for cancer, it can be used alone or with other forms of treatment.

  • Randomized Trial

    A randomized trial is a type of clinical trial in which patients are assigned to groups on a random basis where they receive either the new experimental treatment or the established standard of care (or a placebo).

  • Receptor Protein 4-1BB/CD137

    Receptor protein 4-1BB/CD137 is found on many immune cells that have been activated. Activation of 4-1BB promotes cell growth, survival, and production of cytokines that aid the immune response.

  • Recurrence

    Recurrence is a term used to describe the return or progression of cancer following treatment.

  • Reed-Sternberg Cells

    Reed-Sternberg cells are oversized cells, usually B lymphocytes, that are found in Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They are named after the two researchers who discovered them.

  • Regulatory T Cells

    Regulatory T cells are cells that provide the checks and balances to make sure the immune system doesn't overreact.

  • Remission

    Remission refers to a complete or partial disappearance of the signs and symptoms of cancer in response to treatment. It is a period in which the disease is considered under control, but may not be cured.

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    S
  • Serous Cystic Neoplasm (SCN)

    A serous cystic neoplasm (SCN) is a rare tumor of the pancreas that is usually benign. These tumors are cysts filled with serous fluid.

  • Single-Blind Trial

    In a single-blind trial, the patient will not know if he or she is receiving the experimental treatment, but the researcher will know.

  • Skin

    The skin is the largest organ in the body. Our skin protects us from the external environment, as well as helping to regulate internal body temperature. The skin is composed of 3 layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis.

  • Small-Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)

    Small-cell lung cancer, or SCLC, is one of the 2 major types of lung cancer and accounts for 10% to 15% of all lung cancer cases. The name “small cell” refers to the appearance of these lung cancer cells under a microscope.

  • Solid Pseudopapillary Neoplasms

    Solid pseudopapillary neoplasms are slow-growing pancreatic tumors that are usually cancerous, occurring most often in young, African-American women.

  • Spleen

    The spleen is an organ located to the left of the stomach. It filters blood and provides storage for platelets and white blood cells. Also serves as a site where key immune cells (B cells) multiply in order to fight harmful invaders.

  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma

    Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the main subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC. It accounts for about 25% to 30% of NSCLC tumors.

  • Stages of Lunch Cancer

    The stages of lung cancer are used to determine the extent of disease. Staging is based on whether the tumor is local to the lungs, or has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body—as well as how deeply it has invaded surrounding tissues.

  • Staging

    Staging is used to determine the extent (or “stage”) of a person’s cancer. It is based on whether the tumor is local to its area of origin, or has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body—as well as how deeply it has invaded surrounding tissues.

  • Stem Cells

    Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the potential to develop into other cell types during early life and growth.

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    T
  • Telomerase

    Telomerase is a type of protein found in nearly all cancer cells. Telomerase is being explored as a target for therapeutic cancer vaccines.

  • Therapeutic Cancer Vaccines

    Unlike preventive vaccines, therapeutic cancer vaccines treat disease that is already there. Cancer vaccines specifically stimulate the immune system to attack cancer.

  • Thymus Gland

    The thymus gland is a small immune gland situated in the upper chest beneath the breastbone. Functions as the site where key immune cells (T cells) mature into cells that can fight infection and cancer.

  • TNM Staging System

    The TNM staging system is one of the most common and useful tools used to determine the extent (stage) of a person’s cancer. In the TNM staging system, cancer is assigned a letter that describes the tumor, node, and metastasis, and a number that designates its growth and spread into nearby tissue, lymph nodes, or distant organs. 

  • Toll-Like Receptor Ligands (TLRs)

    Toll-like receptor ligands, or TLRs, are a type of adjuvant immunotherapy used to enhance the body’s immune response.

  • Triple Negative Breast Cancer

    Triple negative breast cancer is a type of breast cancer that does not express receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone, or for human epidermal growth factor. Because most breast cancer treatments target one or more of these receptors, triple negative breast cancer may be more difficult to treat.

  • TROP-2

    TROP-2 is a protein expressed by many forms of cancer.

  • Tumor

    A tumor is an abnormal lump or mass of tissue. Tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

  • Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TILs)

    Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, or TILs, are a type of white blood cell found in tumors. TILs can be removed from a tumor, enhanced, and then reinfused back into the body where they attack and destroy tumor cells. TIL therapy is considered a form of adoptive T cell transfer.

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  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor (VEGFR)

    Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, also called VEGFR, is a biomarker found in certain patients with lung cancer. Patients with VEGFR-positive lung tumors may be candidates for targeted therapies that can improve prognosis and decrease risk for side effects

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  • White Blood Cells

    White blood cells help defend the body against infections. There are many types, and certain cancer treatments (including chemotherapy) reduce the number of these cells. If a person has low white blood cell counts, they can be more likely to get infections.

  • Wnt Pathway

    The Wnt pathway is a signaling pathway that is active during embryonic development. Mutations of the Wnt pathway are observed in some cancers.

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  • Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization (FISH)

    Fluorescence in situ hybridization, or FISH, is a screening test that can be performed on breast cancer tissue removed during a biopsy. FISH testing can be used to determine whether tumor cells overexpress the HER2 gene. Breast tumors that are positive on FISH analysis (FISH+) are considered HER2 positive (HER2+).

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  • Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP)

    Xeroderma pigmentosum, also called XP, is an inherited (genetic) condition characterized by an extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet rays. People who have XP must take extreme care to avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, as it greatly increases their risk for skin cancer.

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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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Patient education information supported by a charitable donation from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
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