Have you ever wondered what happens to the stem cells once it is implanted in our body?
Well, now scientists had developed a method to track the stem cells in our body, according to a new report.
Scientists from the University of Liverpool have developed new methods to track stem cells and the changes that happen to them after they have been in the body for a significant period of time.
Scientists "labeled" the cells with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) before they were administered to the patients.
The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans clearly showed movement of the stem cells and the scientists could determine whether the stem cells reached their intended target or not.
However, scientists warn that conditions within the body's cells can lead to the degradation of SPIONs and reduce the ability of MRI scans to pick up on their signal in the long-term.
To overcome this drawback, scientists are developing new methods to visualise SPION's in the cells before they enter the body to learn their performance in the long-term.
Photothermal technique, a unique optical imaging system is used to improve SPION labelling so that particles survive for longer and have minimal impact on the function of the transplanted cells.
"In order to fully explore this potential, however, more technological developments are needed to understand how stem cells behave in the body after transplantation. If we can't monitor stem cells effectively, it can have serious implications for patient health. Studies have already shown that if cells migrate to the circulatory system, beyond their target organ or tissue site, then it can cause inflammation in the body," said Dr Lara Bogart, scientist at the University's Institute of Integrative Biology in a statement.
"Labelling stem cells is hugely valuable to tracking their movements in the body, but we need to know more about how the particles used interact with stem cells. Using new imaging systems we can work out their precise location in the cell and how they behave over time. We hope to use this information to improve understanding of the MRI signal that tracks SPIONs once stem cells have been transplanted," she added.
Stem cells are used to treat conditions such as leukaemia and have the potential to treat many more diseases and disorders where patient survival is reliant on organ and tissue donation.