Nanoparticles used to track cells

March 27, 2007 at 11:15 AM
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ST. LOUIS, March 27 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists have developed a technique using magnetic resonance imaging and nanoparticles to track cells injected into mice.

Developed in the laboratories of Drs. Samuel Wickline and Gregory Lanza at the Washington University School of Medicine, the study suggests fluorine-laced nanoparticles might soon allow physicians to directly track cells involved in medical treatments by using unique signatures from the ingested nanoparticle beacons.

The study's lead author, doctoral student Kathryn Partlow, said perfluorocarbon nanoparticles were used to label endothelial progenitor cells taken from human umbilical cord blood. The researchers believe such nanoparticle-labeled stem cells could be used to monitor tumors and diagnose and treat cardiovascular problems.

The nanoparticles contain a fluorine-based compound that can be detected by MRI scanners. Fluorine is most commonly known for being an element included in fluoride toothpastes.

Wickline, who heads the Siteman Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence at the university, said the technology offers significant advantages over other cell-labeling technologies under development.

The research is to be detailed in the June issue of The FASEB Journal, a publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

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