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Injecting iron supplement lets Stanford scientists track transplanted stem cells
Date:7/11/2013

STANFORD, Calif. A new, noninvasive technique for tracking stem cells after transplantation developed by a cross-disciplinary team of radiologists, chemists, statisticians and materials scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine could help surgeons determine whether a procedure to repair injured or worn-out knees is successful.

The technique, described in a study to be published online July 12 in Radiology, relies on an imaging agent already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an entirely different purpose: anemia treatment. Although this study used rodents, the approach is likely to be adapted for use in humans this fall as part of a clinical trial in which mesenchymal stem cells will be delivered to the site of patients' knee injuries. Mesenchymal stem cells are capable of differentiating into bone and cartilage, as well as muscle, fat and tendon, but not into the other cell types that populate the body.

Every year, arthritis accounts for 44 million outpatient visits and 700,000 knee-replacement procedures. But the early repair of cartilage defects in young patients may prevent further deterioration of the joint and the need for knee replacement later in life, said the study's senior author, Heike Daldrup-Link, MD, PhD, an associate professor of radiology and clinician who splits her time between research and treating pediatric patients.

Mesenchymal stem cells have been used with some success in cartilage-repair procedures. "These cells can be easily derived from bone marrow of patients who are going to undergo the knee-repair procedure," said Daldrup-Link, a member of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford. "And they can differentiate into the real-life tissues that compose our joints. But here, too, things can go wrong. The newly transferred cells might fail to engraft, or die. They might migrate away. They could develop into tissues other than cartilage, most commonly fibrous scar ti
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Contact: Bruce Goldman
650-725-2106
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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