Terms used in the order of appearance
Note: The medical community language and description are not always in sync. Different names and terms are used. This is confusing to the patient and caregiver, we try our best to overcome this.
The person who helps you function on an everyday basis
People who can speak up, advance the patient and caregiver questions, and generally support the effort. Often patients and their Caregivers have several advocates who have different skills
Clinical trials are a type of research that studies new tests and treatments and evaluates their effects on human health outcomes.
Tumors are a mass of tissue that’s formed by an accumulation of abnormal cells. Normally, the cells in your body age, die, and are replaced by new cells. With cancer and other tumors, something disrupts this cycle.
This is the original tumor location
This is a tissue sample that is obtained from the actual tumor.
Immunohistochemical – IHC
A test that stains the biopsy sample with a chemical solution to highlight the presence of known biomarkers.
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.
The Immune Systems killer T Cell has a failsafe switch to turn off any accidental attack on a healthy cell. Cancer has learned how to turn off this switch and continue growing.
Immune Checkpoint pathway
The Immune Checkpoint pathway refers to the interaction between the killer T Cells and the surface of a normal cell. The T Cell has a PD-1 ligand on its surface and a healthy cell has a PD-L1 ligand on its surface (a matching pair), when these two meet and interact it turns off the unwanted T Cell attack – Cancer has learned to hide behind this by expressing PD-L1 when a T Cell approaches.
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor -ICI
This is an immunotherapy drug – a monoclonal antibody designed in a laboratory that interferes with the T Cell’s “Checkpoint Switch” by locking in the “On” position, so the T Cell can continue and illuminate the cancerous tumor.
Keytruda is a monoclonal antibody created in a laboratory and infused into the patient. Keytruda is not a chemotherapy treatment.
Monoclonal – means they are designed to perform a single purpose or task.
- Monoclonal antibodies are made in a laboratory and are used to block the activity of abnormal proteins detected on infected cells. They are often designed to attach themselves to protein receptors on the surface of cells infected by viruses, essentially acting as a broadcasting beacon /marker that alerts our immune system to attack.
- Monoclonal antibodies have also been developed to be used as an immunotherapy and help turn the immune system against a cancerous cell. For example, some monoclonal antibodies mark cancer cells so that the immune system will better recognize and destroy them, while others such as Keytruda act as a blocking mechanism. See the video section.
Think of immunotherapy drugs as specially designed actions that interfere with what is driving the tumor growth. A lot like a computer has code that goes wrong and a new “patch’ or string of code has to be added as a workaround. Immunotherapy is being referred to as the first ever cancer cure – a modern-day penicillin moment in history.
Simply this is an antibody designed in the laboratory to perform one single function/purpose.
This is a comprehensive examination of a biopsy sample. It examines the genetic and genomic makeup of the sample provided.
Genetics is a term that refers to the study of genes and their roles in inheritance – in other words, the way that certain traits or conditions are passed down from one generation to another. Genetics involves scientific studies of genes and their effects. Genes (units of heredity) carry the instructions for making proteins, which direct the activities of cells and functions of the body. Examples of genetic or inherited disorders include cystic fibrosis
Genomics is a more recent term that describes the study of all of a person’s genes (the genome), including interactions of those genes with each other and with the person’s environment. Genomics includes the scientific study of complex diseases such as cancer because these diseases are typically caused more by a combination of genetic and environmental factors than by individual genes. Genomics is offering new possibilities for therapies and treatments for some complex diseases, as well as new diagnostic methods.