Drug Discov Today 2019 02 17;24(2):492-504. Epub 2018 Oct 17.
Department of Radiology and Advanced Imaging Research Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-8514, USA. Electronic address:
Stem cell therapies have demonstrated promising preclinical results, but very few applications have reached the clinic owing to safety and efficacy concerns. Translation would benefit greatly if stem cell survival, distribution and function could be assessed in vivo post-transplantation, particularly in patients. Advances in molecular imaging have led to extraordinary progress, with several strategies being deployed to understand the fate of stem cells in vivo using magnetic resonance, scintigraphy, PET, ultrasound and optical imaging. Here, we review the recent advances, challenges and future perspectives and opportunities in stem cell tracking and functional assessment, as well as the advantages and challenges of each imaging approach.