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PET and bioluminescent imaging aid evaluation of stem cells' potential for new ways to treat disease
Date:12/6/2007

ant patient, said Lee. Additionally, bone marrow stem cells may help regenerate cells in individuals with heart disease (heart attacks) or brain disorders (strokes, multiple sclerosis) or bone fractures. They could act as a drug delivery vehicle for cancer patients, he added. Much research in these areas still needs to be done since there are many things that we dont know about stem cell biology, noted Lee.

For this study, researchers used a fusion protein combining firefly luciferase (a light-emitting substance) for optical imaging, a red fluorescent protein for cell separation and a virus enzyme thymidine kinase for PET imaging in mice to visualize biological processes at the molecular level. The triple-fusion reporter approach resulted in a reliable method of labeling stem cells for investigation by use of both small-animal PET imaging and bioluminescent imaging, said Lee. PET is a powerful molecular imaging procedure that noninvasively demonstrates the function of genes, cells and organs/tissues, providing information about the biochemistry processes, metabolic activities and body functions. PET scans use very small amounts of radioactive pharmaceuticals that are detected or traced by a special type of camera that works with computers to provide quantitative pictures of the area of the body being imaged. To image dim light from bioluminescencethe process of light emission in living organismsresearchers use an ultra-sensitive camera from an external vantage point. This research is detailed in Imaging of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplant by Bioluminescence and PET.

In a related Journal of Nuclear Medicine article, the growing number of exciting animal and preclinical studies are explored, revealing the immense potential in stem cell-based therapies, particularly in the area of treating cardiovascular diseases, said Joseph C. Wu, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine and radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, Cali
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Contact: Maryann Verrillo
mverrillo@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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