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Monitoring Stem Cell Therapy in Vivo Using Magnetodendrimers as a New Class of Cellular MR Contrast Agents

      Human embryonic stem (ES) and germ (EG) cells have been isolated and can now be propagated indefinitely in culture (
      • Thomson JA
      • et al.
      Embryonic stem cell lines derived from human blastocysts.
      ,
      • Shamblott MJ
      • et al.
      Derivation of pluripotent stem cells horn cultured human primordial germ cells.
      ). They can be differentiated into most, if not all cell types, and offer unprecedented therapeutic potential to replace or substitute defunct endogenous cell populations. In order to track the biodistribution of transplanted cells in animals, including their migration in vivo, cells can be given a tag before grafting. These tags currently include fluorescent labels, thymidine analogues, and transfected reporter genes (e.g. LacZ or GFP), which can be visualized using (immuno)histochemical procedures following tissue removal at a particular given time point. The clinical use of progenitor and stem cells in humans, however, will require a technique that can monitor their fate non-invasively and repeatedly, in order to take a momentary “snapshot” assessment of the cellular biodistribution at a particular given time point. As a result, magnetic resonance (MR) tracking of magnetically labeled stem and progenitor cells is now emerging as a new technology (
      • Bulte JWM
      • et al.
      Neurotransplantation of magnetically labeled oligodendrocyte progenitors: MR tracking of cell migration and myelination.
      ,
      • Lewin M
      • et al.
      Tat peptide-derivatized magnetic nanoparticles allow in vivo tracking and recovery of progenitor cells.
      ). A further implementation of this potentially powerful technique will greatly benefit from the availability of magnetic probes that can render cells highly magnetic during their normal expansion in culture (
      • Bulte JWM
      • Bryant LH
      Molecular and cellular magnetic resonance contrast agents.
      ).
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      References

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      Further reading

        • Tang MX
        • Redemann CT
        • Szoka FC
        In vitro gene delivery by degraded polyamidoamine dendrimers.
        Bioconj Chem. 1996; 7: 703-714