May 12, 2010
Magnetic carbon nanotube-mediated stem cell labelling and tracking
Labelling and dynamic tracking of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPC) are critical to understanding their homing and engraftment into bone marrow after transplantation, and therapeutic efficacy for future stem cell-based therapies. However, the methodology to track HSPC in real time in vivo is still lacking, which seriously restricts the optimal development of these cells for clinical use.
Researchers from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, have recently successfully delivered fluorescein-isothiocyanate-labelled magnetic carbon nanotubes (FITC-mCNT) into HSPC. More importantly, efficient FITC-mCNT uptake has no adverse effect on the cell viability and differentiation of HSPC.
The delivery method is effective and safe, paving the way for the labelling and tracking of transplanted stem cells. Unlike biological or chemical delivery methods, the mCNT-based technique does not depend on the targeted cell type because it employs a physical magnetic force for delivery.
Labelling of HSPC using mCNT would be a promising strategy for in vivo tracking of HSPC or gene delivery into HSPC. The researchers are now exploring these ideas in more detail.
The team presented its work in the journal Nanotechnology.
About the author
The work was performed at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the IRAP program of the National Research Council (NRC), Canada. The interdisciplinary team is led by Dr Jie Chen. Dr Chen's research interests are in the areas of nanobiology and nanoscale electronics. His research focuses on intelligent nanoparticles for labelling and transfection, cancer diagnosis and treatment; ultrasound devices to stimulate dental tissue and stem-cell growth. Dr James Xing is an expert in clinical studies at the Cross Cancer Institute and the University of Alberta Hospital. Dr Hilal Gul is a stem-cell expert and working as a research associate in the team. Dr Weibing Lu is an organic chemist with a research interest in nanostructured materials. Peng Xu is a PhD student and is currently working under the supervision of Dr Chen and Dr Gul.