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Stem Cells. 2011 Jun;29(6):920-7. doi: 10.1002/stem.645.

Concise review: Mesenchymal stem cell tumor-homing: detection methods in disease model systems.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, USA.


Despite the decline in U.S. cancer incidence and mortality rates, cancer remains the number one cause of death for people under the age of 85 and one in four people in the U.S. will die of cancer, mainly because of metastasis. Recently, interest in mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) tumor-homing has led to inquires into: (a) why MSCs home to tumors, (b) what the inherent protumor and antitumor consequences are, and (c) how to best capitalize on MSC tumor-homing for cell-based diagnostics and therapy. Here, these questions are reviewed and method for addressing them using animal models and tracking methodologies (or, synonymously, detection methodologies) are discussed. First, MSCs in a regenerative and tumor-homing context are reviewed, followed by MSC delivery and genetic labeling methods for tissue model systems. Finally, the use of the nonoptical methods, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, and single photon emission computed tomography, along with optical methods, fluorescence imaging and bioluminescent imaging, are reviewed related to tracking MSCs within disease model settings. The benefits and drawbacks of each detection method in animal models is reviewed along with the utility of each for therapeutic use.

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