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Regen Med. 2008 Mar;3(2):199-215. doi: 10.2217/17460751.3.2.199.

Cellular MRI and its role in stem cell therapy.

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  • 1Henry Ford Hospital, Cellular & Molecular Imaging Laboratory,Department of Radiology, 1 Ford Place, 2F Detroit, MI 48202, USA.


Hematopoietic, stromal and organ-specific stem cells are under evaluation for therapeutic efficacy in cell-based therapies of cardiac, neurological and other disorders. It is critically important to track the location of directly transplanted or infused cells that can serve as gene carrier/delivery vehicles for the treatment of disease processes and be able to noninvasively monitor the temporal and spatial homing of these cells to target tissues. Moreover, it is also necessary to determine their engraftment efficiency and functional capability following transplantation. There are various in vivo imaging modalities used to track the movement and incorporation of administered cells. Tagging stem cells with different contrast agents can make these cells probes for different imaging modalities. Recent reports have shown that stem cells labeled with iron oxides can be used as cellular MRI probes demonstrating the cell trafficking to target tissues. In this review, we will discuss the status and future prospect of stem cell tracking by cellular MRI for cell-based therapy.

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