anti-thymocyte globulin

Definition / meaning of anti-thymocyte globulin

A purified gamma immunoglobulin (IgG) with immunosuppressive activity. Obtained from rabbits that have been immunized with human thymocytes, antithymocyte globulin specifically recognizes and destroys T lymphocytes. Although the exact mechanism of action is not completely understood, it appears to involve T lymphocyte clearance from the circulation and modulation of T lymphocyte activity. Administering antithymocyte globulin with chemotherapy prior to stem cell transplantation may reduce the risk of graft-versus-host disease.

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Source(s):

The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/)

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