Last modification: 2024/01/15

This is a glossary of a number of special words and medical terms used by this information service.

A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V W X    all  

diagnostic procedures generating images of the inside of the body, such as ultrasound and X-ray examination, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and scintigraphy

immune cells syn. immunocytes, leukocytes
another term for leukocytes (white blood cells), whose task is to defend against pathogens and foreign substances/structures; because leukocytes are part of the immune system, they are also known as immune cells.

immune defence
the bodys ability to fight off pathogens and other substances (antigens), which are identified as foreign by the organism‘s immune system, with the help of specific antibodies and certain defence cells (e.g. cytotoxic T lymphocytes)
References: antigen - immune system - T lymphocytes

immune response
reaction of the immune system to organisms or substances that are recognized as foreign; a distinction is made between innate and acquired (adaptive) immune response. An immune response can be triggered by pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites) as well as by pathologically altered cells within the body (e.g. cancer cells).

immune system
the bodys own system for maintaining a healthy organism by defending against foreign substances and destroying abnormal body cells (e.g. cancer cells); the immune system has the ability to distinguish between self and foreign or dangerous and harmless; mainly the organs of the lymphatic system as well as cells distributed throughout the body (e.g. leukocytes) and molecules (e.g. immunoglobulins) are involved.

congenital or acquired disorder of the immune system that results in a weakening of the bodys immune response; this leads to the fact that pathogens and consequently infections cannot be sufficiently or adequately fended off.

in an immunohistochemical or immunohistological examination, proteins or other cell or tissue structures are visualized with the help of labeled antibodies (e.g. bound to dyes).

associated with the structure and function of the bodys own defense system (immune system); includes the recognition and defense mechanisms of an organism for foreign and endogenous substances and tissues.

a diagnostic method in which certain proteins (antigens) are searched for on the surface of cells using various special methods and monoclonal antibodies; the most commonly used method for detecting individual antigens is flow cytometry.

suppression of the bodys immune defences
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: immunosuppression is one of the side effects of chemotherapy. In the context of a stem cell transplant, the recipient’s immune system is suppressed by certain medications in order to avoid rejection of the foreign tissue.
References: chemotherapy - stem cell transplantation - immune system - immune defence

suppressing the bodys immune defenses
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: immunosuppression is one of the side effects of chemotherapy.

a form of treatment that affects the immune system with the aim of fighting off or fighting tumours or other diseases

inactivated vaccine syn. dead vaccine
vaccine made from dead, non-reproducing pathogens or their components; vaccination with inactivated vaccines is carried out for the purpose of preventing a corresponding infectious disease and, like vaccination with live vaccines, is an active vaccination. It provides a high level of protection against infection, but its duration of action is shorter than after the use of live vaccines, and hence, revaccination is required more frequently.
References: live vaccine - active vaccination - infection

indication syn. therapeutic indication
reason for the use of certain diagnostic procedures and treatment methods that are evidence-based regarding the respective disease and which require a patient’s consent

penetration of the smallest organisms (e.g. bacteria, viruses, fungi) into the body and subsequent multiplication within it. Depending on the characteristics of the microorganisms and the immune system of the infected person, various infectious diseases can occur after infections.

introduction of fluids into the body, usually over a long period of time and via a central venous catheter; an infusion is given, for example, to supply water, electrolytes, proteins and/or medication as part of intensive treatment.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: Many cytostatics, blood plasma products and medications for supportive treatment (supportive therapy) in the context of cancer therapy are administered in the form of infusions.

the term derives from „inhibition“ (= hindering); a substance that influences one or more biochemical reactions thereby slowing it down or completely preventing it

injection (Abrev.: inj.)
relatively rapid (as opposed to infusion) introduction of dissolved drugs into the body (e.g. through the vein, into the muscle, under the skin)
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: many cytostatics and treatment-supporting drugs (see supportive therapy) are administered in the form of injections during cancer therapy.
References: supportive therapy

hormone that lowers blood sugar (glucose) and influences many different metabolic processes; it is produced in the Langerhans cells of the pancreas.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: treatment in the context of cancer may lead to disorders of glucose metabolism (e.g. in the case of a stem cell transplant).

intensity modulated radiotherapy
modern radiation technology, which provides maximum protection for the surrounding healthy tissue from radiation exposure by means of a highly precise distribution of the radiation dose at the tumour site; the intensity of the radiation dose can be precisely adjusted to the irradiation field only; this may also allow the use of a higher radiation dose.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: IMRT is used for radiotherapy of tumours that are surrounded by vital organs/tissues (e.g. a brain tumour).
References: radiation - radiotherapy - tumour

“into or located within the cerebrospinal fluid canal / cerebrospinal fluid space”, which contains the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: In the context of chemotherapy (e.g. in the case of leukaemia), a drug can be administered directly into the cerebrospinal fluid canal by means of an injection / lumbar puncture.

intrathecal chemotherapy
administration of cell growth-inhibiting drugs (cytostatics) into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) canal, which contains the CSF

intravenous (Abrev.: IV) syn. intravenously
means located within a vein or given into a vein; here: e.g. administration of a medication or fluid/suspension into the vein by an injection, infusion or transfusion.

into the ventricular system / in the ventricular system, i.e. into / in the cerebrospinal fluid

ionising radiation
very high-energy radiation that can cause radiation damage when passing through a cell or organism; ionising radiation breaks chemical bonds and produces chemical radicals, which in turn trigger chemical reactions. This is where their biologically harmful effect lies. Ionising radiation includes electromagnetic radiation (such as X-rays, gamma rays and short-wave UV rays) as well as particle radiation (e.g. alpha, beta and neutron radiation).
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: ionising radiation is used to destroy cancer cells.

iron overload
iron levels in the blood and liver exceeding a certain level; these levels indicate that the bodys natural iron stores are full and that the body is depositing excess iron in organs such as the heart, liver, or endocrine glands. In the long run, however, it causes severe organ damage. Iron overload must, therefore, be treated consistently.