Glossary: What is leukaemia?

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation: the transplantation of stem cells from a healthy person (donor) to a patient after high-intensity chemotherapy or radiation

Apoptosis: the process of programmed cell death

Blasts: immature cells with characteristic morphological appearances

Bruton’s tyrosine kinase: an enzyme encoded by the BTKgene, which has a crucial role in B-cell development

Chromosome deletion: part of a chromosome is lost during DNA replication

Chromosome duplication: part of a chromosome is duplicated, creating one or more copies of that chromosomal region, which may include a gene or even an entire chromosome

Chromosome inversion: a section of a chromosome breaks and is then rearranged end to end within itself

Chromosome translocation: two sections of two different chromosomes break off and swap places

Complex karyotype: a karyotype that demonstrates multiple chromosomal mutations

Differentiation: the process by which cells change to acquire specialised features that serve a specific function

Haematopoiesis: blood cell development

Epigenetics: modification of gene expression, rather than alteration of the gene code itself

Immunodeficient: unable to produce a normal immune response in terms of the complement of antibodies

Immunophenotype: the characteristics of a cell in terms of its surface antigens from which its cell lineage can be determined

Karyotyping: the process of pairing and ordering all of the chromosomes in an organism by number and appearance

Leukaemogenesis: the induction or production of leukaemia

Metaphase: the phase of a cell’s cycle in which the duplicated chromosomes line up at the centre of the cell

Monosomy: the presence of only one chromosome from a pair, resulting in an abnormal number of chromosomes in a cell

Neoplasia: abnormal growth of cells that is not under normal physiological control

Next-generation sequencing: also known as high-throughput sequencing, is the term used to describe a number of different gene sequencing technologies

Progenitor cell:a cell that can differentiate into several types of cell and is pushed to differentiate into its target cell (it is usually more limited than a stem cell in the kinds of cells it can become)

Transcription factor: a protein that controls the rate of conversion of genetic information in DNA into messenger RN

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