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Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(25):3685-93.

Tracking stem cells for cellular therapy in stroke.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford Stroke Center and Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neurosciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive Stanford, California, CA 94305-5327, USA.


Stem cell transplantation has emerged as a promising treatment strategy for stroke. The development of effective ways to monitor transplanted stem cells is essential to understand how stem cell transplantation enhances stroke recovery and ultimately will be an indispensable tool for advancing stem cell therapy to the clinic. In this review, we describe existing methods of tracking transplanted stem cells in vivo, including optical imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET), with emphasis on the benefits and drawbacks of each imaging approach. Key considerations such as the potential impact of each tracking system on stem cell function, as well as its relative applicability to humans are discussed. Finally, we describe multi-modal imaging strategies as a more comprehensive method to track transplanted stem cells in the stroke-injured brain.

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