Disease & Drug Info

Glossary of Terms

N-acetylcysteine

listen (... A-seh-til-SIS-teh-een) A drug usually used to reduce the thickness of mucus and ease its removal. It is also used to reverse the toxicity of high doses of acetaminophen. Also called acetylcysteine and N-acetyl-L-cysteine.

N-acetyldinaline

listen ( A-seh-til-dih-nuh-leen) A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. Also called CI-994.

N-acetyl-L-cysteine

listen ( A-seh-til SIS-teh-een) A drug usually used to reduce the thickness of mucus and ease its removal. It is also used to reverse the toxicity of high doses of acetaminophen. Also called acetylcysteine and N-acetylcysteine.

NaCl

Chemical abbreviation for sodium chloride (table salt).

naloxone

listen (na-LOK-sone) A substance that is being studied as a treatment for constipation caused by narcotic medications. It belongs to the family of drugs called narcotic antagonists.

naltrexone

listen (nal-TREK-sone) A drug that blocks the action of opiates (drugs used to treat pain). It may be used in the treatment of intravenous opiate addiction or alcohol dependence. Naltrexone is also being studied in the treatment of breast cancer. It may block the effects of the hormone estrogen, which causes some breast cancer cells to grow, or block the blood flow to tumors. It is a type of opiate antagonist. Also called naltrexone hydrochloride, ReVia, and Vivitrol.

naltrexone hydrochloride

listen (nal-TREK-sone HY-droh-KLOR-ide) A drug that blocks the action of opiates (drugs used to treat pain). It may be used in the treatment of intravenous opiate addiction or alcohol dependence. Naltrexone hydrochloride is also being studied in the treatment of breast cancer. It may block the effects of the hormone estrogen, which causes some breast cancer cells to grow, or block the blood flow to tumors. It is a type of opiate antagonist. Also called naltrexone, ReVia, and Vivitrol.

Namenda

listen (nuh-MEN-duh) A drug used to treat dementia caused by Alzheimer disease. It is also being studied in the treatment of side effects from whole-brain radiation therapy for cancer and other conditions. Namenda blocks the uptake of calcium by certain brain cells and decreases their activity. It is a type of N-methyl-D-asparatate (NMDA) receptor antagonist. Also called memantine hydrochloride.

nanogram

listen (NA-noh-gram) A measure of weight. One nanogram weighs a billion times less than one gram, and almost a trillion-times less than a pound.

nanometer

listen (NA-noh-MEE-ter) A measure of length in the metric system. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. An average human hair is about 60,000 nanometers thick. Nanometers are used to measure wavelengths of light and distances between atoms in molecules.

nanomole

listen (NA-noh-mole) The amount of a substance equal to a billionth of a mole (a measure of the amount of a substance). Also called nM.

nanoparticle

listen (NA-noh-PAR-tih-kul) A particle of that is smaller than 100 nanometers (one-billionth of a meter). In medicine, nanoparticles can be used to carry antibodies, drugs, imaging agents, or other substances to certain parts of the body. Nanoparticles are being studied in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.

nanoparticle paclitaxel

listen (NA-noh-PAR-tih-kul PA-klih-TAK-sil) A drug used to treat breast cancer that has come back or spread to other parts of the body. It is also used with carboplatin to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer in patients who are not able to have surgery or radiation therapy. It is also used with gemcitabine hydrochloride to treat pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Nanoparticle paclitaxel is a form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel and may cause fewer side effects than paclitaxel. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing, and may kill them. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called ABI-007, Abraxane, paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation, and protein-bound paclitaxel.

nanoprobe

listen (NA-noh-probe) A device that uses x-rays instead of visible light to form images of very small structures, such as the insides of blood vessels and cells. It can be used to study processes such as angiogenesis (growth of blood vessels). The term nanoprobe is also used to describe very small particles that can be used in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.

nanotechnology

listen (NA-noh-tek-NAH-loh-jee) The field of research that deals with the engineering and creation of things from materials that are less than 100 nanometers (one-billionth of a meter) in size, especially single atoms or molecules. Nanotechnology is being studied in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.

Naprosyn

listen (NA-proh-sin) A drug used to treat mild pain and the symptoms of arthritis and several other conditions. It is also being studied in the treatment of bone pain in patients with cancer. Naprosyn stops the body from making substances that cause pain and inflammation. It is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and a type of cyclooxygenase inhibitor. Also called naproxen.

naproxen

listen (nuh-PROK-sen) A drug used to treat mild pain and the symptoms of arthritis and several other conditions. It is also being studied in the treatment of bone pain in patients with cancer. Naproxen stops the body from making substances that cause pain and inflammation. It is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and a type of cyclooxygenase inhibitor. Also called Naprosyn.

narcotic

listen (nar-KAH-tik) A substance used to treat moderate to severe pain. Narcotics are like opiates such as morphine and codeine, but are not made from opium. They bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. Narcotics are now called opioids.

Naropin

listen (NUH-roh-pin) A drug used to control pain and to cause a temporary loss of feeling in one part of the body, during and after surgery. It is also being studied for pain control after cancer surgery. It is a type of local anesthetic. Also called ropivacaine and ropivacaine hydrochloride.

nasal

listen (NAY-zul) By or having to do with the nose.

nasogastric

listen (NAY-zoh-GAS-trik) Describes the passage from the nose to the stomach. For example, a nasogastric tube is inserted through the nose, down the throat and esophagus, and into the stomach.

nasogastric tube

listen (NAY-zoh-GAS-trik toob) A tube that is inserted through the nose, down the throat and esophagus, and into the stomach. It can be used to give drugs, liquids, and liquid food, or used to remove substances from the stomach. Giving food through a nasogastric tube is a type of enteral nutrition. Also called gastric feeding tube and NG tube.

Nasonex

listen (NAY-zoh-nex) A drug that is used in a cream to treat certain skin conditions and in a nasal spray to treat sinus problems caused by allergies. It is being studied as a way to treat inflammation of the skin caused by radiation therapy. Nasonex is a type of corticosteroid. Also called Elocon, mometasone, and mometasone furoate.

nasopharyngeal cancer

listen (NAY-zoh-fuh-RIN-jee-ul KAN-ser) Cancer that forms in tissues of the nasopharynx (upper part of the throat behind the nose). Most nasopharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the nasopharynx).

nasopharynx

listen (NAY-zoh-FAYR-inx) The upper part of the throat behind the nose. An opening on each side of the nasopharynx leads into the ear.

nasoscope

listen (NAY-zoh-skope) A thin tube-like instrument used to examine the inside of the nose. A nasoscope has a light and a lens for viewing and may have a tool to remove tissue. Also called rhinoscope.

nasoscopy

listen (nay-ZOS-koh-pee) Examination of the inside of the nose using a nasoscope (or rhinoscope). A nasoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. Also called rhinoscopy.

National Cancer Institute

listen (NA-shuh-nul KAN-ser IN-stih-TOOT) The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is the Federal Government's principal agency for cancer research. The National Cancer Institute conducts, coordinates, and funds cancer research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer. Access the National Cancer Institute Web site at http://www.cancer.gov. Also called NCI.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

listen (NA-shuh-nul SEN-ter ... KOM-pleh-MEN-tuh-ree ... IN-teh-gray-tiv helth) A federal agency that uses science to explore complementary and integrative health (CIH) practices, trains CIH researchers, and provides authoritative information about CIH to professionals and the public. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health awards grants for research projects, training, and career development in CIH; sponsors conferences, educational programs, and exhibits; studies ways to use proven CIH practices along with conventional medical practice; and supports adding CIH to medical, dental, and nursing school programs. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is part of the National Institutes of Health. Also called NCCIH.

National Clinical Trials Network

listen (NA-shuh-nul KLIH-nih-kul TRY-uls NET-wurk) A National Cancer Institute (NCI) program that gives funds and other support to cancer research organizations to conduct cancer clinical trials. The National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) helps these organizations develop new clinical trials and manage their regulatory, financial, membership, and scientific committees. It also helps with statistics and data management, Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), and patient tissue sample collection and storage. This support allows researchers to conduct trials that focus on specific cancers and patient populations and new treatment methods. The groups in the NCTN include the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, NRG Oncology, SWOG, Childrens Oncology Group (COG), and the NCI of Canada-Clinical Trials Group (NCIC-CTG). The NCTN was previously known as the NCI Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program. Also called NCTN.

National Institutes of Health

listen (NA-shuh-nul IN-stih-TOOTS helth) A federal agency in the U.S. that conducts biomedical research in its own laboratories; supports the research of non-Federal scientists in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions throughout the country and abroad; helps in the training of research investigators; and fosters communication of medical information. Access the National Institutes of Health Web site at http://www.nih.gov. Also called NIH.

National Lung Screening Trial

listen (NA-shuh-nul SKREE-ning TRY-ul) A lung cancer screening trial sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In the trial, low-dose spiral CT scans were compared with chest x-rays for their ability to detect lung cancer early. The trial included more than 50,000 participants who were aged 55 to 74 years, were current or former heavy smokers, and had no signs or symptoms of lung cancer. The results of the trial showed that participants who were screened with spiral CT scans had about a 20% lower risk of dying from lung cancer than those who were screened with chest x-rays. Also called NLST.

natural history study

listen (NA-chuh-rul HIH-stuh-ree STUH-dee) A study that follows a group of people over time who have, or are at risk of developing, a specific medical condition or disease. A natural history study collects health information in order to understand how the medical condition or disease develops and how to treat it.

natural killer cell

listen (NA-chuh-rul KIH-ler sel) 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.

natural killer-cell large granular lymphocyte leukemia

listen (NA-chuh-rul KIH-ler-sel larj GRAN-yoo-lur LIM-foh-site loo-KEE-mee-uh) A type of leukemia in which large natural killer (NK) cells (a type of white blood cell) that contain granules (small particles) are found in the blood. It is a chronic disease that may last for a long time and get worse. Also called NK-LGL leukemia and NK-LGLL.

naturopathy

listen (NAY-cher-AH-puh-thee) A system of disease prevention and treatment that avoids drugs and surgery. Naturopathy is based on the use of natural agents such as air, water, light, heat, and massage to help the body heal itself. It also uses herbal products, nutrition, acupuncture, and aromatherapy as forms of treatment.

nausea

listen (NAW-zee-uh) A feeling of sickness or discomfort in the stomach that may come with an urge to vomit. Nausea is a side effect of some types of cancer therapy.

Navelbine

listen (nay-VEL-been) A drug used to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer. It blocks cell growth by stopping cell division and may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of vinca alkaloid and a type of antimitotic agent. Also called vinorelbine tartrate.

navitoclax

listen (na-VIH-toh-klax) A substance being studied in the treatment of lymphomas and other types of cancer. It blocks some of the enzymes that keep cancer cells from dying. It is a type of Bcl-2 family inhibitor. Also called ABT-263.

NB1011

A substance that is being studied for its ability to make cancer cells respond to drugs to which they have become resistant. It is a type of nucleoside analog.

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