This glossary provides definitions of terms as they are used in the Radioligand Therapy Readiness Assessment Framework. They are derived from existing sources1-5 and adapted for the purposes of this project.

Antibody is a type of protein created by blood cells when they are invaded by bacteria, viruses or other foreign substances in the blood. Antibodies that are synthetically made and typically used in radioimmunotherapy and other medicinal approaches are called monoclonal antibodies.

Built environment includes the rooms, space and equipment within a healthcare facility. The built environment needs to enable the safe and effective delivery of treatments.

Cancer community includes people with cancer or those who have survived cancer, cancer patient organisations, and all healthcare professionals working in cancer care.

Care pathway is a term that describes the clinical processes that patients go through, from eligibility for treatment to follow-up after treatment has been completed.

Clinical indication is a health condition that could benefit from a specific test, therapy or procedure. If a therapy has been established and approved by regulatory bodies, it is said to be approved for a specific clinical indication.

Computed tomography (CT) scans use X-rays to create images of the body at different angles. A computer develops these into a 3D image. X-rays identify changes in bones and tissue caused by cancer or other disease.

Eligibility assessment is used to evaluate whether radioligand therapy is a suitable treatment option for a particular individual based on the outcome of specific, often imaging, tests.

Endocrinologist is a medical specialist involved in the diagnosis and treatment of people who have hormone-related disorders. This includes people with neuroendocrine neoplasms as they arise from the cells of the endocrine and nervous systems.

Gastroenterologist is a medical specialist involved in the diagnosis and treatment of people who have disorders of the digestive system. This may include people with neuroendocrine neoplasms that affect the pancreas or gastrointestinal tract.

Governance refers to a range of policies, standards and ways of working that directly impact the availability, accessibility and standards of delivery for any therapy, ultimately influencing health outcomes.

Haematologist is a medical specialist involved in the diagnosis and treatment of people who have disorders of the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes, including lymphoma.

Haemato-oncologist is a medical specialist involved in the diagnosis and treatment of people with cancers affecting the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes, including lymphoma.

Half-life is the time it takes for unstable atoms of a radioisotope to decay by half. Different isotopes have different half-lives. Some radioisotopes have a short half-life, meaning they decay quickly and must be used quickly once created.

Health information refers to data that are collected, analysed and synthesised to support health-related decision-making.

Identified need is the potential need and demand for a specific healthcare intervention.

Inpatient care refers to overnight care provided to a patient in a hospital setting.

Integration is the adoption and assimilation of an intervention into every aspect of a health system (e.g. governance, regulation, reimbursement, service delivery) to ensure its availability to all people who may benefit from it.

Investigational therapy relates to a drug or medical procedure being assessed in clinical trials to evaluate its safety and efficacy, but not yet licensed for clinical use.

Ligand is a small molecule that selectively binds to another specific molecule. Examples are a hormone binding to a receptor on a cell, or an antibody binding to an antigen.

Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread to different parts of the body from where it first originated.

Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer is an advanced type of prostate cancer that has spread to the bone and become resistant to hormonal cancer therapy.

Multidisciplinary team is a group of healthcare professionals who work closely together to deliver comprehensive patient care. The team are responsible for each patient’s diagnosis, management plan and assessment of treatment. It may include medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

National level relates to a country as a whole.

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system. It develops when white blood cells grow uncontrollably. There are over 60 types of lymphomas, each requiring different treatment.

Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs), also known as neuroendocrine cancers, are a group of cancers which occur in neuroendocrine cells. NENs arise from cells of the hormonal and nervous systems that can develop in many different organs of the body. They include neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) and neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs).

Nuclear medicine is a medical discipline that involves the application of radioactive substances to assess bodily functions, as well as to diagnose and treat disease.

Outpatient care is care provided to a patient in a healthcare facility that does not involve an overnight stay.

Positron-emission tomography (PET) scans use radioactive tracers to produce 3D images of the inside of the body. The scan shows how organs and tissues function, and can provide evidence of the presence or absence of cancer

Precision medicine takes the variability of an individual’s genes and proteins into account to prevent, diagnose or treat disease.

Radiation is the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or subatomic particles. This energy can be emitted by radioisotopes and used to diagnose or treat disease.

Radiation protection are measures aimed to reduce radiation exposure and minimise the harmful effects of ionising radiation among patients and healthcare professionals.

Radioactive waste includes radioactive materials, equipment and bodily fluids which have received exposure to radiation.

Radioimmunotherapy is a treatment that uses a cancer-targeting antibody to deliver a radioisotope directly to cancer cells and kill them. It is used to treat certain types of lymphoma.

Radioisotope is an unstable form of a chemical element that emits radiation as it breaks down to a stable form. Radioisotopes may occur naturally or be made in a laboratory. Their properties and applications differ, e.g. different radioisotopes would be used for diagnosing and treating cancer.

Radioligand is a cancer-targeting molecule, or ligand, attached to a radioisotope. By choosing different radioisotopes to attach to the same type of ligand, the process can be tailored to either diagnose or treat different types of cancer.

Readiness is the ability of the health system to rapidly and sustainably adapt policies, infrastructure and processes to support integration of a new intervention.

Receptors are molecules on the surface of a cell that can receive certain substances in the blood.

Regional level relates to provinces/regions/states of a country.

Regulation defines why and when a healthcare intervention should be provided and how it can be delivered safely to patients, including the appropriate rules and safeguards that need to be in place.

Service provision encompasses the inputs (such as the health workforce, infrastructure and equipment) and outputs (such as diagnostic, therapeutic and follow-up services) required for the provision of healthcare.

Targeted therapy is a category of cancer treatment that exploits differences between healthy and cancerous cells. It can be used to target and kill cancer cells and stop cancer growth.

Theranostics is an approach to treat cancer using highly targeted and personalised therapy based on specific diagnostic tests.

Urologist is a medical specialist who focuses on the function and disorders of the genitourinary system.

Uro-oncologist is a medical specialist involved in the diagnosis and treatment of people with cancer of the urinary tract and the male reproductive organs, such as metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Cancer can be located in the bladder, kidneys, prostate, penis and testicles.

  1. Merriam-Webster. Medical Dictionary. Available from: [Accessed 17/03/21]
  2. National Cancer Institute. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. Available from: [Accessed 17/03/21]
  3. Cancer.Net. Cancer Terms. Available from: [Accessed 17/03/21]
  4. Lymphoma Action. Glossary. Available from: [Accessed 17/03/21]
  5. The Free Dictionary. Medical Dictionary. Available from: [Accessed 17/03/21]