NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 8,458 terms related to cancer and medicine.

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RT-PCR
A laboratory method used to make many copies of a specific genetic sequence for analysis. It uses an enzyme called reverse transcriptase to change a specific piece of RNA into a matching piece of DNA. This piece of DNA is then amplified (made in large numbers) by another enzyme called DNA polymerase. The amplified DNA copies help tell whether a specific mRNA molecule is being made by a gene. RT-PCR may be used to look for activation of certain genes, which may help diagnose a disease, such as cancer. It may also be used to study the RNA of certain viruses, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the hepatitis C virus, to help diagnose and monitor an infection. Also called reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.