Glossary

Anti-Fungals

Drugs used to fight fungal infections. Amphotericin, posaconazole, fluconazole, voriconazole and nystatin are examples of anti-fungal drugs.

ATG

Antithymocyte globulin (ATG) is a purified horse serum that suppresses the immune system in order to allow the bone marrow to recover. The serum is produced by injecting the animal with white blood cells called lymphocytes. The animal then produce antibodies which are collected and purified to produce the globulin.

Bone marrow aspirate

An aspirate is a small volume of bone marrow which is removed under local anaesthetic from either the hip bone or the breast bone. The cells in the sample can then be examined under the microscope to identify any abnormality in the developing blood cells. The sample is then examined under a microscope and a diagnosis made.

Bone marrow biopsy

Similar to a bone marrow aspirate, but a small slither of the bone is also removed for examination.

Cannula

A narrow tube inserted into a vein through which fluids can be given and blood taken. Rather more temporary than a central venous catheter.

Cellularity

The number of stem cells in the bone marrow.

Central Venous Catheter

A Central Venous Catheter or Central Line is a small flexible plastic tube inserted into the large vein above the heart through which drugs and blood products can be given. It also enables blood samples to be taken painlessly. It is also known as a HICKMAN® catheter. (HICKMAN is a registered trade mark of C. R. Bard, Inc.)

Ciclosporin

An immunosuppressant drug used in the treatment of aplastic anaemia.

Cord Blood

Blood obtained from the umbilical cord at the time of birth. Cord blood is extremely rich in stem cells which have the ability to re-populate bone marrow and thereby produce blood cells.

Eltrombopag

A new drug designed to stimulate the production of platelets in the bone marrow.

G-CSF

Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor. A growth factor drug used to stimulate white cell production and sometimes used to help treat a very severe infection.

HICKMAN® Catheter

See Central Venous Catheter.

Idiopathic

Term given to a disease which has no known cause.

Neutrophil

The most important and plentiful of the white blood cells. Protects the body against infection by absorbing and destroying waste or harmful material such as disease producing bacteria.

Platelets

A blood cell which prevents and controls bleeding. Also known as a thrombocyte.

Red Blood Cell

Blood cells which contain the red pigment haemoglobin. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all the tissues of the body. A lack of red blood cells causes anaemia. Also known as erythrocytes.

Reticulocyte

An immature (young) red blood cell.

Stem Cell Transplant (SCT)

A procedure used in the treatment of aplastic anaemia. The patient is given special chemotherapy drugs to dampen the immune system so that the patient’s bone marrow will accept the new stem cells from the donor. Healthy marrow from a donor is then infused into the patient. This is the only truly curative treatment for patients with severe or very severe aplastic anaemia.

T-Cell

A white blood cell involved in controlling immune reactions and fighting viral infections.

Thrombocyte

A blood cell which prevents and controls bleeding. Also known as a platelet.

White Blood Cell

Blood cell which helps to prevent and fight infections.There are three main type of white blood cell – granulocyte, lymphocyte and monocyte.