CABI

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Stem Cell Tracking

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Nanomedicine


Magnetic nanoparticles can be used to image and steer cells to sites of injury. We are using  superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, which become magnetic in the presence of a magnetic field, to guide tagged cells. Magnetic nanoparticles can be made small enough to be incorporate into cells or on to antibodies, affording a safe and reliable means of magnetically tagging.  In CABI we have developed ways of imaging cells or antibodies using nanoparticles and once magnetically tagged, steering them to sites of tissue damage using ways of imaging cells or antibodies using nanoparticles and once magnetically tagged, steering them to sites of tissue damage using the MRI scanner - a new technique known as Magnetic Resonance Targeting, which has been developed with Quentin Pankhurst.

Magnetic targeting of magnetically labelled stem cells

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Superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles are in current use as contrast agents in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It is also possible to label cells ex vivo with these particles and image them using MRI both in vitro and in vivo, providing a means of tracking the fate transplanted cells in humans. Because of the magnetic properties of SPIOs it is also possible to physically attract them, and the cells labelled with them, using a magnetic field. We focus on labelling stem cells with SPIOs, in particular of the endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) lineage, with the ultimate view of targeting them to a site of cardiovascular injury by using an externally applied magnetic field and visualising their adherence using MRI.

Targeted delivery and MRI tracking of magnetically labelled stem cells

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The aim of this project is the development of a magnetic targeting regime to deliver stem cells labelled with superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles to designated areas in an animal body. The main targeting area for this project is the ischemic area of the myocardium. Monitoring of cell distributions in animals can be achieved via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and should elucidate the success of the targeting strategy. However, functional improvement due to cell targeting is the most important criterion to assess the potential of the cell type under consideration. This will be addressed via global functional parameters estimated from cardiac MRI data.

 
 
 

Images by Panos Kyrtatos and Manfred Ramirez

Page last modified on 12 sep 11 13:45