Glossary of terms - Future Health Biobank
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Glossary of terms

If you’re considering stem cell banking for your child or have already begun the journey, you’ve probably come across a few scientific terms while exploring your options.

This Glossary of common words and phrases will help to cut through the jargon!


  • Accreditations

    An accreditation is an official recognition of a qualification, status, achievement. Future Health accreditations cover all areas of the business from importing, processing, testing and long term storage. Some are referred to as licences.

  • Alzheimer’s

    A progressive brain disease that results in an irreversible decline in brain functionalities, usually in older people.

  • Anaemia

    Anaemia is a condition which results in the body not getting enough oxygen and/or iron, due to a lack of red blood cells or haemoglobin.

  • Anaemias

    A general term for the different types of Anaemia; a condition that results in the body not getting enough oxygen and/or iron, due to a lack of red blood cells or haemoglobin.

  • Arthritis

    The name for a group of conditions that affect joints and their surrounding tissue by causing pain and inflammation.

  • Bitter Taste

    Bitter taste is caused by variations in a bitter sensitivity gene known as hTAS2R38. It triggers an unpleasant bitter taste from foods containing compounds such as PTC, which can be found in broccoli and other vegetables.

  • Bodily Tissue

    A general term used to describe all connective tissue, muscles etc. that make up organs and body parts.

  • Bone Marrow Cancer

    A form of blood cancer where the body produces abnormal blood cells that crowd bone marrow and leave less room for healthy blood cells to grow.

  • Bone Marrow Harvesting

    Bone marrow harvesting is the process of collecting stem cells using a needle injected in the centre of bone marrow. This is carried out in surgery while the donor is under anaesthetic and is considered an invasive procedure.

  • Buffy Coat

    The buffy coat is a layer of a blood sample containing the majority of stem cells, white blood cells and platelets.

  • Caesarean

    Caesarean section, or C-section, is an operation to deliver your baby through an incision made in the stomach and womb.

  • Cartilage

    A firm but flexible connective tissue found throughout the human body, mostly between bone joints.

  • Cell Death

    When a cell stops carrying out its functions due to age, disease or injury.

  • Cellular Treatments

    A term used to describe a treatment in which stem cells are infused into the patient.

  • Centrifugal

    In stem cell banking, centrifugal describes the action of processing a sample using a centrifugal system, by spinning it at high speed to separate it's components.

  • Centrifugal Force

    This is a pushing force that acts on all objects when they are placed on a rotating frame.

  • Chromosomal Aneuploidy

    The presence of an unusually low or high number of chromosomes within a human cell, resulting in an abnormality.

  • Coeliac Disease

    Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition triggered by a gluten intolerance. Gluten is a type of protein found in foods like bread, pasta, cakes and biscuits.

  • Composition

    The way in which components or ingredients combine to make a whole.

  • Cryogenically

    Relating to the scientific process of storing cells at below-freezing temperatures.

  • Cryopreservation

    The process of cooling then freezing a sample of cells or tissue at very low temperatures to maintain its viability and quality.

  • Cryoprotectant

    A substance used to protect a cell and prevent damage during freezing.

  • Dedicated Medical Courier

    A medically approved courier who works privately with a company to collect and dispatch samples in a timely and professional manner.

  • Degenerative

    A degenerative disease involves progressive deterioration of the patient's condition and eventually loss of function in organs or tissue.

  • Dental Pulp

    Dental pulp is the soft connective tissue found at the centre of each tooth.

  • Depletion 

    A reduction in the number or quantity of something.

  • Differentiating / Transforming

    When related to cells, differentiating is the process of a cell changing from one type to another more specialised type.

  • Dna Match

    A DNA match is found when the DNA test results of two people are compared and indicate that they share a genetic ancestor.

  • Donor

    A person who gives blood, an organ, stem cells etc. for medical application.

  • Haemoglobin

    Haemoglobin, or Hb/Hgb, is a type of protein found in red blood cells containing iron and oxygen.

  • Illnesses And Conditions

    General terms medical terms for all diseases, disorders and injuries.

  • Illumina Technology

    Illumina is a dye sequencing technology used to analyse and identify series' of DNA base pairs.

  • Immunodeficiency Diseases /  Immunity Disorders

    This means that a person's immune system function is either reduced or completely absent, and therefore unable to fight infection.

  • Inherited Immune System Disorders

    A generic disorder that affects the function of a person's immune system, making them unable to effectively fight injections.

  • Inherited Metabolic Disorders

    A genetic disorder that affects a person's metabolic processes due to abnormal chemical reactions.

  • Inherited Red Cell Abnormalities

    Describing the unusual function or behaviour of red blood cells, as a result of an inherited/genetic condition.

  • Insolvency

    When a business or person is unable to repay money owed.

  • Insolvency Protection

    If a person or company is unable to repay money owed, insolvency protection offers a legally binding solution to write off some or all of the debt.

  • Interest Free

    No additional charge on top of the money owed.

  • Iron Deficiency Anaemia

    A common type of anaemia caused by a lack of healthy red blood cells, which contain iron.

  • Lactose Intolerance

    Lactose intolerance is a common digestive condition where the body is unable to digest lactose properly. Lactose is a type of sugar mainly found in dairy products.

  • Leukaemia

    Leukaemia is a blood cancer that causes the body to produce abnormal blood cell. These crowd bone marrow and leave less room for healthy blood cells to grow.

  • Leukaemias

    A general term for the different types of Leukaemia; a blood cancer that causes the body to produce abnormal blood cells. These crowd bone marrow and leave less room for healthy blood cells to grow.

  • Lifeline

    A metaphorical terms for something that someone depends on. Having released 118 samples for treatments, we are familiar with how a sample can represent this to a parent.

  •  Lymphomas

    Lymphoma is treatable cancer that starts within the cells of the immune system, found in lymph nodes, the spleen, bone marrow and other parts of the body. The two types, Non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin Lymphoma, affect different types of lymphocyte cells.

  • Lump Sum

    A single payment made all at once, rather than a series of smaller payments made over time.

  • Macopress Smart System

    MacoPress Smart (MPS) is a brand of machine used to separate a whole-blood unit into its individual blood components, for analysis on a data management system.

  • Malware Protection

    Malware - commonly known as viruses or trojans - is a type of malicious software designed to infiltrate and damage a computer system without the owner's consent.

  • Maternity Bag 

    A large, sturdy bag for the mother to bring with her when she goes into labour. It should contain essentials for mother and baby for before, during and after birth. Your collection kit is separate to your maternity bag.

  • Medication Induced Deafness

    Medication-induced deafness can be caused by exposure to aminoglycoside antibiotics that can lead to substantial hearing loss.

  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells (Mscs)

    A multipotent stem cell found in bone marrow, umbilical cord tissue and dental pulp. They can repair various bodily tissues, such as bone, cartilage, fat and muscle.

  • Myeloproliferative Disorders

    The name of a group of slow-growing blood cancers in which bone marrow produces a large number of abnormal red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets.

  • Nanocool

    Nanocool® is a superior cooling technology used in each of Future Health Biobank's sample collection kits. It regulates the temperature of the sample in-transit by evaporating small quantities of water at low pressure for up to 83 hours.

  • Newborn Screening

    A health service for newborns, where the baby is screened within their first few months of life for potential inherited conditions.

  • Non Identical Twins

    Twins are produced from the same pregnancy and can be either identical or non-identical. Non-identical twins occur when two eggs are fertilised by two sperm at the same time.

  • Non-Invasive 

    In medical terms, this means that procedure doesn't involve any intravenous actions.

  • Nurse Support Service

    Additional nurse support with personal or work related problems that can arise after giving birth, such as depression or stress.

  • Optimal Cord Clamping

    Optimal cord clamping refers to the optimal timing of cord clamping; this can be several minutes after a baby has been delivered or once the cord has stopped pulsating.

  • Optimal Freezing

    Freezing the sample using a highly controlled procedure specific to the characteristics of the sample to protect the stem cells during freezing, cryogenic storage, and eventual thawing for transplant.

  • Organs

    An organ is a collection of organisms that combine to perform a specific vital function in the body.

  • Parkinson’s

    A neurodegenerative disorder that causes a loss of nerve cells and dopamine in the "substantia nigra" area of the brain. Symptoms can vary, but generally result in slow movement, tremors and muscle stiffness.

  • Phagocyte Disorders

    An inherited defect of the immune system.

  • Phlebotomist

    A phlebotomist is a health worker or nurse trained in phlebotomy - the process of drawing blood from a patient. The phlebotomist will collect the blood from the cord.

  • Phlebotomists 

    A phlebotomist is a health worker or nurse trained in phlebotomy - the process of drawing blood from a patient.

  • Plasma

    In blood, plasma is the yellow-coloured liquid that holds all blood cells and proteins, carrying them throughout the body.

  • Pre Freeze

    When something occurs before it is frozen. At Future Health we verify the cell recovery rate before the freezing process.

  • Private Maternity Hospitals 

    Private maternity hospitals are non-government funded and operate independently. Private hospitals require direct payment for treatment.

  • Processing

    In a scientific environment, this is to perform chemical operations on something to preserve or change its quality.

  • Recovery Rate

    The speed at which someone can regain normal function e.g. after being treated for an illness or disease.

  • Red Blood Cells

    A disc-shaped cell containing haemoglobin, which gives this cell its red colour and transports oxygen, carbon dioxide and iron throughout the body via the bloodstream.

  • Reduced Volume Processing 

    This stem cell processing method involves reducing the sample size by removing harmful waste products, then isolating and protecting the remaining stem cells for storage.

  • Regenerate

    In the human body, this means to grow new cells or tissue after loss or damage.

  • Remission

    Remission is the temporary reduction or disappearance of the symptoms of a disease.

  • Repeat Customers

    If you've purchased at least one stem cell banking service with us previously, you are classed as a repeat customer

  • Sibling

    A sister or brother who share one or both parents in common.

  • Sickle Cell Anaemia

    A type of anaemia that affects haemoglobin within red blood cells and their ability the deliver oxygen throughout the body. It also causes red blood cells to form a "sickle" crescent-like shape

  • Solid Tumour

    An abnormal tissue mass that doesn't contain any liquid. They can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

  • Standard Treatments

    Treatments that have sufficient clinical evidence to be approved by medical bodies such as the NHS.

  • Stem Cell Match

    A stem cell match is determined when the tissue types of the donor and recipient have been tested and deemed compatible.

  • Stem Cell Transplant

    A procedure where stem cells - derived from umbilical cord blood, bone marrow or peripheral blood - are injected into the patient's bloodstream to replace damaged cells with healthy ones.

  •  Stemcellcare Insurance

    A specialist insurer that helps you to pay for stem cell treatment, should you ever need it.

  • Thaw

    When something warms up, softens or melts as the temperature around it climbs above freezing.

  • Type 1 Diabetes 

    Also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin.

  • Tooth Cells

    This refers to the cells within dental pulp, at the centre of each tooth.

  • Tooth Collection Kit

    A purpose-built box for storing your child's tooth safely and in temperature controlled conditions while it is transported from your home to Future Health Biobank's laboratory.

  • Transported

    Any sample transported to Future Health is in a temperature controlled kit and through our dedicated courier

  • Umbilical Cord

    The umbilical cord connects your baby to the placenta while it's in the womb. It carries blood, containing essential oxygen and nutrients, to and from the baby throughout pregnancy.

  • Vascular Instability

    The scientific term for a hot flash/flush which typically lasts for around four minutes. It is caused by blood vessels diverting the flow of heated blood to the skin, where the heat can more easily be released.

  • Viability Test

    A test carried out by trained scientists to check whether the stem cells are healthy and growing well. This usually involves observation under a microscope followed by a flow cytometry experiment.

  • Volume-Reduced / Volume Reduction

    This stem cell processing method involves reducing the sample size by removing harmful waste products, then isolating and protecting the remaining stem cells for storage.

  • Water Birth 

    A method of childbirth that takes place in water - usually a lukewarm, shallow pool. Waterbirths are believed to be a more relaxed and a less painful way to give birth.

  • Accreditations

    An accreditation is an official recognition of a qualification, status, achievement. Future Health accreditations cover all areas of the business from importing, processing, testing and long term storage. Some are referred to as licences.

  • Alzheimer’s

    A progressive brain disease that results in an irreversible decline in brain functionalities, usually in older people.

  • Anaemia

    Anaemia is a condition which results in the body not getting enough oxygen and/or iron, due to a lack of red blood cells or haemoglobin.

  • Anaemias

    A general term for the different types of Anaemia; a condition that results in the body not getting enough oxygen and/or iron, due to a lack of red blood cells or haemoglobin.

  • Arthritis

    The name for a group of conditions that affect joints and their surrounding tissue by causing pain and inflammation.

  • Bitter Taste

    Bitter taste is caused by variations in a bitter sensitivity gene known as hTAS2R38. It triggers an unpleasant bitter taste from foods containing compounds such as PTC, which can be found in broccoli and other vegetables.

  • Bodily Tissue

    A general term used to describe all connective tissue, muscles etc. that make up organs and body parts.

  • Bone Marrow Cancer

    A form of blood cancer where the body produces abnormal blood cells that crowd bone marrow and leave less room for healthy blood cells to grow.

  • Bone Marrow Harvesting

    Bone marrow harvesting is the process of collecting stem cells using a needle injected in the centre of bone marrow. This is carried out in surgery while the donor is under anaesthetic and is considered an invasive procedure.

  • Buffy Coat

    The buffy coat is a layer of a blood sample containing the majority of stem cells, white blood cells and platelets.

  • Caesarean

    Caesarean section, or C-section, is an operation to deliver your baby through an incision made in the stomach and womb.

  • Cartilage

    A firm but flexible connective tissue found throughout the human body, mostly between bone joints.

  • Cell Death

    When a cell stops carrying out its functions due to age, disease or injury.

  • Cellular Treatments

    A term used to describe a treatment in which stem cells are infused into the patient.

  • Centrifugal

    In stem cell banking, centrifugal describes the action of processing a sample using a centrifugal system, by spinning it at high speed to separate it's components.

  • Centrifugal Force

    This is a pushing force that acts on all objects when they are placed on a rotating frame.

  • Chromosomal Aneuploidy

    The presence of an unusually low or high number of chromosomes within a human cell, resulting in an abnormality.

  • Coeliac Disease

    Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition triggered by a gluten intolerance. Gluten is a type of protein found in foods like bread, pasta, cakes and biscuits.

  • Composition

    The way in which components or ingredients combine to make a whole.

  • Cryogenically

    Relating to the scientific process of storing cells at below-freezing temperatures.

  • Cryopreservation

    The process of cooling then freezing a sample of cells or tissue at very low temperatures to maintain its viability and quality.

  • Cryoprotectant

    A substance used to protect a cell and prevent damage during freezing.

  • Dedicated Medical Courier

    A medically approved courier who works privately with a company to collect and dispatch samples in a timely and professional manner.

  • Degenerative

    A degenerative disease involves progressive deterioration of the patient's condition and eventually loss of function in organs or tissue.

  • Dental Pulp

    Dental pulp is the soft connective tissue found at the centre of each tooth.

  • Depletion 

    A reduction in the number or quantity of something.

  • Differentiating / Transforming

    When related to cells, differentiating is the process of a cell changing from one type to another more specialised type.

  • Dna Match

    A DNA match is found when the DNA test results of two people are compared and indicate that they share a genetic ancestor.

  • Donor

    A person who gives blood, an organ, stem cells etc. for medical application.

  • Haemoglobin

    Haemoglobin, or Hb/Hgb, is a type of protein found in red blood cells containing iron and oxygen.

  • Illnesses And Conditions

    General terms medical terms for all diseases, disorders and injuries.

  • Illumina Technology

    Illumina is a dye sequencing technology used to analyse and identify series' of DNA base pairs.

  • Immunodeficiency Diseases /  Immunity Disorders

    This means that a person's immune system function is either reduced or completely absent, and therefore unable to fight infection.

  • Inherited Immune System Disorders

    A generic disorder that affects the function of a person's immune system, making them unable to effectively fight injections.

  • Inherited Metabolic Disorders

    A genetic disorder that affects a person's metabolic processes due to abnormal chemical reactions.

  • Inherited Red Cell Abnormalities

    Describing the unusual function or behaviour of red blood cells, as a result of an inherited/genetic condition.

  • Insolvency

    When a business or person is unable to repay money owed.

  • Insolvency Protection

    If a person or company is unable to repay money owed, insolvency protection offers a legally binding solution to write off some or all of the debt.

  • Interest Free

    No additional charge on top of the money owed.

  • Iron Deficiency Anaemia

    A common type of anaemia caused by a lack of healthy red blood cells, which contain iron.

  • Lactose Intolerance

    Lactose intolerance is a common digestive condition where the body is unable to digest lactose properly. Lactose is a type of sugar mainly found in dairy products.

  • Leukaemia

    Leukaemia is a blood cancer that causes the body to produce abnormal blood cell. These crowd bone marrow and leave less room for healthy blood cells to grow.

  • Leukaemias

    A general term for the different types of Leukaemia; a blood cancer that causes the body to produce abnormal blood cells. These crowd bone marrow and leave less room for healthy blood cells to grow.

  • Lifeline

    A metaphorical terms for something that someone depends on. Having released 118 samples for treatments, we are familiar with how a sample can represent this to a parent.

  •  Lymphomas

    Lymphoma is treatable cancer that starts within the cells of the immune system, found in lymph nodes, the spleen, bone marrow and other parts of the body. The two types, Non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin Lymphoma, affect different types of lymphocyte cells.

  • Lump Sum

    A single payment made all at once, rather than a series of smaller payments made over time.

  • Macopress Smart System

    MacoPress Smart (MPS) is a brand of machine used to separate a whole-blood unit into its individual blood components, for analysis on a data management system.

  • Malware Protection

    Malware - commonly known as viruses or trojans - is a type of malicious software designed to infiltrate and damage a computer system without the owner's consent.

  • Maternity Bag 

    A large, sturdy bag for the mother to bring with her when she goes into labour. It should contain essentials for mother and baby for before, during and after birth. Your collection kit is separate to your maternity bag.

  • Medication Induced Deafness

    Medication-induced deafness can be caused by exposure to aminoglycoside antibiotics that can lead to substantial hearing loss.

  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells (Mscs)

    A multipotent stem cell found in bone marrow, umbilical cord tissue and dental pulp. They can repair various bodily tissues, such as bone, cartilage, fat and muscle.

  • Myeloproliferative Disorders

    The name of a group of slow-growing blood cancers in which bone marrow produces a large number of abnormal red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets.

  • Nanocool

    Nanocool® is a superior cooling technology used in each of Future Health Biobank's sample collection kits. It regulates the temperature of the sample in-transit by evaporating small quantities of water at low pressure for up to 83 hours.

  • Newborn Screening

    A health service for newborns, where the baby is screened within their first few months of life for potential inherited conditions.

  • Non Identical Twins

    Twins are produced from the same pregnancy and can be either identical or non-identical. Non-identical twins occur when two eggs are fertilised by two sperm at the same time.

  • Non-Invasive 

    In medical terms, this means that procedure doesn't involve any intravenous actions.

  • Nurse Support Service

    Additional nurse support with personal or work related problems that can arise after giving birth, such as depression or stress.

  • Optimal Cord Clamping

    Optimal cord clamping refers to the optimal timing of cord clamping; this can be several minutes after a baby has been delivered or once the cord has stopped pulsating.

  • Optimal Freezing

    Freezing the sample using a highly controlled procedure specific to the characteristics of the sample to protect the stem cells during freezing, cryogenic storage, and eventual thawing for transplant.

  • Organs

    An organ is a collection of organisms that combine to perform a specific vital function in the body.

  • Parkinson’s

    A neurodegenerative disorder that causes a loss of nerve cells and dopamine in the "substantia nigra" area of the brain. Symptoms can vary, but generally result in slow movement, tremors and muscle stiffness.

  • Phagocyte Disorders

    An inherited defect of the immune system.

  • Phlebotomist

    A phlebotomist is a health worker or nurse trained in phlebotomy - the process of drawing blood from a patient. The phlebotomist will collect the blood from the cord.

  • Phlebotomists 

    A phlebotomist is a health worker or nurse trained in phlebotomy - the process of drawing blood from a patient.

  • Plasma

    In blood, plasma is the yellow-coloured liquid that holds all blood cells and proteins, carrying them throughout the body.

  • Pre Freeze

    When something occurs before it is frozen. At Future Health we verify the cell recovery rate before the freezing process.

  • Private Maternity Hospitals 

    Private maternity hospitals are non-government funded and operate independently. Private hospitals require direct payment for treatment.

  • Processing

    In a scientific environment, this is to perform chemical operations on something to preserve or change its quality.

  • Recovery Rate

    The speed at which someone can regain normal function e.g. after being treated for an illness or disease.

  • Red Blood Cells

    A disc-shaped cell containing haemoglobin, which gives this cell its red colour and transports oxygen, carbon dioxide and iron throughout the body via the bloodstream.

  • Reduced Volume Processing 

    This stem cell processing method involves reducing the sample size by removing harmful waste products, then isolating and protecting the remaining stem cells for storage.

  • Regenerate

    In the human body, this means to grow new cells or tissue after loss or damage.

  • Remission

    Remission is the temporary reduction or disappearance of the symptoms of a disease.

  • Repeat Customers

    If you've purchased at least one stem cell banking service with us previously, you are classed as a repeat customer

  • Sibling

    A sister or brother who share one or both parents in common.

  • Sickle Cell Anaemia

    A type of anaemia that affects haemoglobin within red blood cells and their ability the deliver oxygen throughout the body. It also causes red blood cells to form a "sickle" crescent-like shape

  • Solid Tumour

    An abnormal tissue mass that doesn't contain any liquid. They can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

  • Standard Treatments

    Treatments that have sufficient clinical evidence to be approved by medical bodies such as the NHS.

  • Stem Cell Match

    A stem cell match is determined when the tissue types of the donor and recipient have been tested and deemed compatible.

  • Stem Cell Transplant

    A procedure where stem cells - derived from umbilical cord blood, bone marrow or peripheral blood - are injected into the patient's bloodstream to replace damaged cells with healthy ones.

  •  Stemcellcare Insurance

    A specialist insurer that helps you to pay for stem cell treatment, should you ever need it.

  • Thaw

    When something warms up, softens or melts as the temperature around it climbs above freezing.

  • Type 1 Diabetes 

    Also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin.

  • Tooth Cells

    This refers to the cells within dental pulp, at the centre of each tooth.

  • Tooth Collection Kit

    A purpose-built box for storing your child's tooth safely and in temperature controlled conditions while it is transported from your home to Future Health Biobank's laboratory.

  • Transported

    Any sample transported to Future Health is in a temperature controlled kit and through our dedicated courier

  • Umbilical Cord

    The umbilical cord connects your baby to the placenta while it's in the womb. It carries blood, containing essential oxygen and nutrients, to and from the baby throughout pregnancy.

  • Vascular Instability

    The scientific term for a hot flash/flush which typically lasts for around four minutes. It is caused by blood vessels diverting the flow of heated blood to the skin, where the heat can more easily be released.

  • Viability Test

    A test carried out by trained scientists to check whether the stem cells are healthy and growing well. This usually involves observation under a microscope followed by a flow cytometry experiment.

  • Volume-Reduced / Volume Reduction

    This stem cell processing method involves reducing the sample size by removing harmful waste products, then isolating and protecting the remaining stem cells for storage.

  • Water Birth 

    A method of childbirth that takes place in water - usually a lukewarm, shallow pool. Waterbirths are believed to be a more relaxed and a less painful way to give birth.

  • 100% DNA match

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