Glossary

Acetylation Chemical process whereby an acetyl group is introduced into an organic chemical compound.

Antiviral Effective against viruses.

Autoimmune disease A condition that arises when the body’s immune system attacks the body’s own tissues.

Biomarker A biological or chemical marker which, when its presence can be demonstrated or exceeds a given measurement value, constitutes an indicator of a particular biological condition, e.g. that a pharmaceutical substance may have an effect on a disease.

Candidate drug (CD) Substance selected for further development to clinical trials.

Cirrhosis of the liver Atrophy of the liver that results in the liver tissue gradually being destroyed and replaced by fibrous scar tissue.

Clinical studies Trials of pharmaceutical substances on human subjects.

Collagen Fibre protein, a collective name for the most common fibrous component of all tissue outside the actual cell. Collagen makes up almost 30% of the body’s total protein.

Deubiquitinases (DUBs) A large group of proteases (enzymes) that cleave ubiquitin from for example proteins. Ubiquitin is a protein with 76 amino acids whose primary purpose is to “mark” other intracellular proteins targeted for degradation.

Enzyme A protein molecule that catalyses the rate of chemical reactions in cells without the actual enzyme being consumed. Polymerases and proteases are examples of enzymes.

Genotype An organism’s precise genetic properties (its genome), usually in the form of DNA. For HCV, genotype 1a is the most common in North America while 1b is the most common in Europe.

Hepatitis C/HCV Jaundice caused by the human hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Histone deacetylases (HDACs) A class of enzymes that remove acetyl groups from the side-chains of amino acids in histones.

Histones A group of proteins which, together with DNA, form nucleoproteins that make up the body’s chromosomes.

Ligand The often smaller molecules with a specificity for a receptor and which transmit some form of signal inside a cell by binding to this receptor.

Metastasis (secondary growth) A tumour that has spread to organs other than the one in which the primary growth or tumour is located.

Monoclonal Something is said to be monoclonal when it relates to a group of genetically identical cells.

Nucleoside analogue Chemical variants of the nucleosides that build up genetic material.

Nucleotide A nucleoside with one or more phosphate groups.

Orphan drug A pharmaceutical agent for the treatment of extremely rare diseases.

Peptide mimetics Compounds that are designed to mimic the 3D-structure of a natural peptide or protein.

Pharmacokinetics The study of the metabolism of pharmaceuticals by the human body.

Polymerase A type of enzyme that copies the genetic material (genes) in, for example, a virus.

Protease An enzyme that can cleave proteins into smaller units.

Refractory tumour A tumour that does not respond to treatment.

Replication The process that duplicates the DNA molecule during cell division so that a copy of the molecule ends up in every daughter cell. Propagation, e.g. with regard to viruses which develop the ability, inside their host cell, to enter a replication phase (propagation phase).

Skin lesions Medical term for an injury or morbid change in the skin tissue in the form of growths or spots, for example, that look different from the surrounding skin.

Systemic toxicity A toxic effect that spreads throughout an entire organ system, usually throughout the body, in contrast to a more local effect, e.g. on an individual organ.

Page updated 15 May 2017