Being able to self-renew and differentiate into virtually all cell types, both human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have exciting therapeutic implications for myocardial infarction, neurodegenerative disease, diabetes, and other disorders involving irreversible cell loss. However, stem cell biology remains incompletely understood despite significant advances in the field. Inefficient stem cell differentiation, difficulty in verifying successful delivery to the target organ, and problems with engraftment all hamper the transition from laboratory animal studies to human clinical trials. Although traditional histopathological techniques have been the primary approach for ex vivo analysis of stem cell behavior, these postmortem examinations are unable to further elucidate the underlying mechanisms in real time and in vivo. Fortunately, the advent of molecular imaging has led to unprecedented progress in understanding the fundamental behavior of stem cells, including their survival, biodistribution, immunogenicity, and tumorigenicity in the targeted tissues of interest. This review summarizes various molecular imaging technologies and how they have advanced the current understanding of stem cell survival, biodistribution, immunogenicity, and tumorigenicity.
View details for DOI 10.7150/thno.3666
View details for Web of Science ID 000304031200002
View details for PubMedID 22509197
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3326720