Scientists Say: Remission | Science News for Students

Scientists Say: Remission

This is a word used in medicine to describe a disease that isn’t active
Aug 13, 2018 — 6:30 am EST
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Every so often, a doctor gets to deliver good news. Remission is a word they use to say that a disease is no longer active.

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Remission (noun, “Ree-MISS-shun”)

In medicine, this is a term used to describe a disease that isn’t active anymore. A doctor might use it when she can no longer detect signs of cancer in a patient, for example. Cancer is the rapid, uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. If those cells die, or stop growing and shrink, the disease they cause may be in remission.

There are two types of remission — partial and complete. In partial remission, some of the signs of a disease have disappeared. For cancer, this might mean that the cancer has stopped growing. In complete remission, all signs of a disease are gone. This could mean the disease is cured. But it could also mean that the disease is still present but dormant. 

In a sentence

Scientists edited genes with tiny molecular “scissors” to send a baby girl’s cancer into remission.

Check out the full list of Scientists Say here

Power Words

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cancer     Any of more than 100 different diseases, each characterized by the rapid, uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. The development and growth of cancers, also known as malignancies, can lead to tumors, pain and death.

dormant     Inactive to the point where normal body functions are suspended or slowed down.

gene     (adj. genetic) A segment of DNA that codes, or holds instructions, for a cell’s production of a protein. Offspring inherit genes from their parents. Genes influence how an organism looks and behaves.

remission     (in medicine) A term for a disease that is no longer apparent or active. It may signal a cure. It may also, however, just represent that the disease has gone dormant — but may awaken and become active again at any time.

symptom     A physical or mental indicator generally regarded to be characteristic of a disease. Sometimes a single symptom — especially a general one, such as fever or pain — can be a sign of any of many different types of injury or disease.