Glossary of Terms

Adoptive cellular therapy - A treatment used to help the immune system fight diseases, such as cancer and infections with certain viruses. T cells are collected from a patient, grown in the laboratory and given back to the patient to help the immune system fight disease.

Adult Stem Cell - Adult stem cells are found in most adult tissues, such as bone marrow. A more precise term for these cells is somatic stem cell, meaning "of the body."

Advanced therapy medicinal product - A medicinal product for human use that is a gene therapy medicinal product, a somatic cell therapy medicinal product or tissue engineered product

Allogeneic Transplantation - Cell, tissue or organ transplants from one person to a different person.

Apheresis -  A technique for obtaining stem cells from a patient's blood. They move out of the bone marrow and into the blood stream by a special regimen of drugs, such as Neupogen. The blood is filtered through a machine, and the stem cells are collected. They can be used right away or cryopreserved for later use. 

Autologous Transplantation -  Cell, tissue or organ transplants from one individual back to the same individual. These types of transplants are not rejected by the person’s body because the stem cells are from their body.

CD34 - A protein found on the surface of bone marrow and blood cells.

Cancer vaccine - A therapy intended to stimulate a primary immune response to tumor-associated antigens, with the intention of inducing tumor regression

CAR T-cell therapy - A type of treatment in which a patient's T cells (a type of immune system cell) are taken from a patient’s blood and changed (the gene for a special receptor called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that binds to a protein on the patient’s cancer cells is added) in the laboratory so they will attack cancer cells and given to the patient by infusion.

Cell-Based Therapies - Treatment in which stem cells are induced to differentiate into the specific cell type required to repair damaged or destroyed cells or tissues.

Cell Differentiation -  The process whereby relatively unspecialized cells acquire specialized structural and/or functional features that characterize the cells, tissues, or organs of the mature organism.

Clinical Trials - Research studies in human beings that follow a pre-defined protocol. There are four phases of clinical trials.

  • Phase I Trials: Researchers test an experimental drug or treatment in a small group of people to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range, and identify side effects.
  • Phase II Trials: The drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people to see if it is effective and to further evaluate its safety.
  • Phase III Trials: The drug or treatment is given to large groups of people to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the experimental drug or treatment to be used safely.
  • Phase IV Trials: These studies are done after the product is launched in the market. These studies to further understand the drug’s risks, benefits and optimal use.

Clone - A genetically identical copy of a cell or organism

Cloning - Isolation and production of a genetically identical copy of a cell or organism

Collection Center - A location where stem cell collection services are provided.

Continuous cell line - A cell line that appears to have the capacity for indefinite cell division

Cord Blood Stem Cells - Stem cells collected from the umbilical cord at birth that can produce all of the blood cells in the body.

Cryopreservation - The process of cooling and storing cells, tissues, or organs at very low temperatures to maintain viability. The technology of cooling and storing cells at a temperature below the freezing point (-196C) permits high rates of survivability upon thawing.

Dendritic cell - A special type of cell that is a key regulator of the immune system, acting as a professional antigen presenting cell (APC) capable of activating naive T cells and stimulating the growth and differentiation of B cells. Dendritic cells are found in the lymph nodes and spleen.

Directed Cell Differentiation - Manipulating stem cell culture conditions to induce differentiation into a particular cell type.

Double-blind trial - A randomized trial in which the clinician and patient are unaware of which arm of the trial the patient is on

Embryonic Stem Cell - These stem cells come from embryos that are four to five days old. At this stage, an embryo is called a blastocyst and has about 50 to 150 cells. NeoStem does not participate in embryonic stem cell activities.

Ex Vivo - outside the living body; denoting removal of an organ for reparative surgery, after which it is returned to the original site.

Hematology - Hematology is the study of blood and its disorders.

Hematopoietic Cell - The functional cell type that makes blood. Hematopoietic cells are found within the bone marrow of adults.

Immune Reconstitution - The restoration of a person’s immune system.

Immunomodulation - A therapeutic strategy aimed at altering the normal course of an immune response, either enhancing it for the purpose of vaccination or suppressing its effects if deleterious. 

Immuno-oncology - Cancers grow and spread because tumor cells have developed ways to evade elimination by the immune system. Cancer cells make proteins that apply the “brakes” to immune cells and prevent the immune cells from killing the tumor cells. Immuno-oncology treatments allow immune cells to once again kill tumor cells.

Immunotherapy - A planned intervention in the normal course of a potentially detrimental immune response, intended to solicit an outcome of benefit to an individual

Investigational New Drug - The status of an experimental drug after the Food and Drug Administration agrees that it can be tested in people.

Invitro - within an artificial environment

Invivo - within the living body

Mesenchymal Stem Cell - Also known as bone marrow stromal cells, mesenchymal stem cells are rare cells, mainly found in the bone marrow, that can give rise to a large number of tissue types such as bone, cartilage (the lining of joints), fat tissue, and connective tissue (tissue that is in between organs and structures in the body). 

Multipotent - Stem cells whose progeny are of multiple differentiated cell types, but all within a particular tissue, organ, or physiological system. For example, blood-forming (hematopoietic) stem cells are single multipotent cells that can produce all cell types that are normal components of the blood. 

Natural killer cell - A type of immune cell that has granules (small particles) with enzymes that can kill tumor cells or cells infected with a virus. A natural killer cell is a type of white blood cell, also called NK cell and NK-LGL.

Non-clinical study - A study performed in vitro and/or in vivo (in animals) to provide data on an investigational medicinal product

Orphan drug - A medicinal product designed to treat a rare disease

Patent - A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States. U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States.

Peripheral Blood - Blood that circulates throughout the body. 

Plasma cell - Plasma cells (also called plasma B cells, plasmocytes, plasmacytes or effector B cells) are white blood cells that secrete large volumes of antibodies. They are transported by the blood plasma and the lymphatic system.

Plasticity - A phenomenon used to describe a cell that is capable of becoming a specialized cell type of different tissue. For example, when the same stem cell can make both new blood cells and new muscle cells.

Pluripotent - The ability of a single stem cell to give rise to all of the various cell types that make up the body

Progenitor Cell - A progenitor cell, often confused with stem cell, is an early descendant of a stem cell that can only differentiate, but it cannot renew itself anymore. In contrast, a stem cell can renew itself (make more stem cells by cell division) or it can differentiate (divide and with each cell division evolve more and more into different types of cells). A progenitor cell is often more limited in the kinds of cells it can become than a stem cell.

Proliferation - Expansion of cells by the continuous division of single cells into two identical daughter cells.

Randomized trial - A trial in which participants are randomly assigned to one of two or more treatment arms of a clinical trial

Red Blood Cell - A red-colored cell in the blood of vertebrates that transports oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the lungs to the other parts of the body.

Regenerative Medicine - Replaces or regenerates human cells, tissues or organs, to restore or establish normal function

Single-blind trial - A randomized trial in which either the clinician or patient are unaware of which arm of the trial the patient is on.

Standard of Care - A diagnostic and treatment process that a clinician should follow for a certain illness. It is based on scientific evidence of how the treatment regimen has historically worked for patients.

Therapeutic cloning - The production of cells that exactly match the cells of a donor

Tissue bank - A collection of tissues stored for research or clinical utility

Tissue engineering - The use of a combination of cells, engineering, materials and methods to manufacture ex vivo living tissues and organs that can be implanted to improve or replace biological functions

Tissue engineered product - A product that contains or consists of engineered cells and/or tissues, and is presented as having properties for, or is used in or administered to human beings with a view to, regenerating, repairing or replacing a human tissue.

Total Nucleated Cells - The total nucleated cell content of peripheral blood units currently serves as the most important measure for determining suitability for transplantation.

Totipotent - A totipotent stem cell can give rise to all the cell types that make up the body plus all of the cell types that make up the extra embryonic tissues such as the placenta.

Transdifferentiation -  The ability of a particular cell of one tissue, organ or system, including stem or progenitor cells, to differentiate into a cell type characteristic of another tissue, organ, or system; e.g., blood stem cells changing to liver cells.

Umbilical Cord Stem Cells - Hematopoietic stem cells are present in the blood of the umbilical cord during and shortly after delivery. These stem cells are in the blood at the time of delivery, because they move from the liver, where blood-formation takes place during fetal life, to the bone marrow, where blood is made after birth.

Undifferentiated -  A cell that has not yet generated structures or manufactured proteins characteristic of a specialized cell type.