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The Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC

Hematology Dictionary
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Gamma Globulin
A concentrated solution of antibodies given through a vein to fight infections, e.g. measles in patients with low resistance.

Normally the gamma globulins, which make up antibodies, are a mixture of a huge number of different types. When nearly all gamma globulin being produced is one particular form this is called monoclonal gammopathy.

Formed from DNA and carried on the chromosome, genes direct the activities of cells. They are responsible for the inherited characteristics, which distinguish one individual from another. Each human individual has an estimated 100,000 separate genes.

Graft Rejection
Rarely, when a patient has an allogeneic bone marrow transplant, the new bone marrow will fail to start producing blood cells. This is called graft rejection. It may be possible to do a second transplant.

Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD)
A common, and serious, complication of bone marrow transplantation. Some of the donor's immune cells reject the patient's own cells as foreign. The skin, liver and gut may be affected. It can occur in either chronic or acute forms and is treatable by immunosuppressive drugs.

Graft Versus Leukemia (GVL)
If graft versus host disease is present but not severe it may be beneficial in helping to kill off leukemia cells. If all the T-lymphocytes are removed from an allogeneic bone marrow transplant it minimizes the risk of graft versus host disease but increases the risk of relapse.

A type of white cells. They protect the body against infection by seeking out and killing microorganisms.

Growth Factors
A complex family of proteins produced by the body to control growth, division and maturation of blood cells by the bone marrow. Some are available as products of genetic engineering, and are used clinically to stimulate normal white cell production following chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation.

Growth Hormone
A biochemical secreted by a gland in the brain, which controls growth and is of particular importance during adolescence. Radiotherapy given to the head and neck of children with leukemia may lead to a deficiency in growth hormone. This may be replaced by intravenous injections.


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The information in this glossary is cited with permission from the Leukemia Research Foundation web site.

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