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  • A biomarker, or biological marker is a measurable indicator of some biological state or condition. A biological molecule found in blood, other body fluids, or tissues that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease. A biomarker may be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition. Also called molecular marker and signature molecule.
Cell-based Immunotherapy
  • Also called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy. A type of treatment in which a patient’s T cells (a type of immune system cell) are changed in the laboratory so they will attack cancer cells. T cells are taken from a patient’s blood. Then the gene for a special receptor that binds to a certain protein on the patient’s cancer cells is added in the laboratory. The special receptor is called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). Large numbers of the CAR– T cells are grown in the laboratory and given to the patient by infusion. CAR– T -cell therapy is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Also called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy.
Cell Culture Technologies
  • Cell culture is the process by which cells are grown under controlled conditions in vitro. Cell culture technologies refers to creating and maintaining new cell lines and the appropriate conditions for their propagation and use for research.
CD4 and CD8 T cells
  • T-cells are a subset of white blood cells that play an important role in the body’s immune system. They are classified in CD4 and CD8 T cells based on a type of protein on their surface. CD4 T cells are also called “helper” cells because they do not neutralize infections but trigger the activity of other immune cells by releasing cytokines; CD8 T cells are the “killer” cells that destroy virus-infected cells and cancer cells.
DNA-based Technologies
  • Technologies obtained through the study and manipulation of genetic material for research, diagnostic and therapeutic purpose.
DNA-based Monoclonal Antibody (DMAb)
  • Circular piece of DNA, also called plasmid, that contains the DNA sequence encoding for a desired monoclonal antibody. Once delivered to the host, DMAbs provide instructions to the body to make their own highly specific antibodies against pathogenic targets such as bacteria, virus-infected cells and cancer cells.
  • The study of how age and exposure to environmental factors, such as diet, exercise, drugs, and chemicals, may cause changes in the way genes are switched on and off without changing the actual DNA sequence. These changes can affect a person’s risk of disease and may be passed from parents to their children.
Gene Therapy
  • A type of experimental treatment in which foreign genetic material (DNA or RNA) is inserted into a person’s cells to prevent or fight disease. Gene therapy is being studied in the treatment of certain types of cancer.
  • The study of the structure, function, evolution, and alterations of genomes. A genome is the complete set of DNA (including all of its genes or genetic material present) in a cell or other organism. Almost every cell in a person’s body contains a complete copy of the genome. The genome contains all the information needed for a person to develop and grow. Studying the genome may help researchers understand how genes interact with each other and with the environment and how certain diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, form. This may lead to new ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease.
  • A type of therapy that stimulates or suppresses the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection, and other diseases. Some types of immunotherapy only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), and some monoclonal antibodies and cell-based therapies.
Monoclonal Antibody
  • A type of protein made in the laboratory that mimics antibodies produced by the immune system and can bind to substances in the body, including proteins present on cancer cells. There are many kinds of monoclonal antibodies. A monoclonal antibody is made so that it binds to only one substance. Monoclonal antibodies are being used for research and to treat some types of cancer. They can be used alone or to carry drugs, toxins, or radioactive substances directly to cancer cells.
Small Molecule Inhibitor
  • A substance that is able to enter cells easily because of its small size and can block the activity of a target protein, causing cancer cells to die or stop proliferating. Small molecule inhibitors are developed as anticancer targeted therapies. 
Signal Transduction Pathway
  • A chain of molecules that relay signals inside a cell, converting extracellular stimuli into specific cellular responses. A pathway is activated when a molecule, such as a hormone, attaches to a receptor on the cell membrane, initiating a cascade of biochemical reactions that result in expression of one or more genes and production of proteins.
Synthetic DNA-based Vaccine
  • Circular piece of DNA, also called plasmid, that contains the DNA sequence encoding the antigen against which an immune response is sought. Once delivered to the host, DNA vaccines provide instructions to the body to make the antigen, which then triggers the immune response. Advantages of this approach over traditional vaccines include improved stability, the absence of infectious agents and the relative ease of large-scale manufacture.
Targeted Therapy
  • A type of treatment that specifically attacks uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific types of cancer cells with less harm to normal cells. Some targeted therapies block the action of certain enzymes, proteins, or other molecules involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. Other types of targeted therapies help the immune system kill cancer cells or deliver toxic substances directly to cancer cells and kill them. Targeted therapy may have fewer side effects than other types of cancer treatment. Most targeted therapies are either small molecule drugs or monoclonal antibodies.
Tumor Microenvironment
  • The normal cells, molecules, and blood vessels that surround and feed a tumor cell. A tumor can change its microenvironment, and the microenvironment can affect how a tumor grows and spreads.
Tumor Suppressor Gene
  • A type of gene that encodes for a protein that helps control cell growth and survival. Mutations in tumor suppressor genes may lead to cancer.