Cellular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a means by which cells labeled ex vivo with a contrast agent can be detected and tracked over time in vivo. This technology provides a noninvasive method with which to assess cell-based therapies in vivo. Dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccines are a promising cancer immunotherapy, but its success is highly dependent on the injected DC migrating to a secondary lymphoid organ such as a nearby lymph node. There the DC can interact with T cells to elicit a tumor-specific immune response. It is important to verify DC migration in vivo using a noninvasive imaging modality, such as cellular MRI, so that important information regarding the anatomical location and persistence of the injected DC in a targeted lymph node can be provided. An understanding of DC biology is critical in ascertaining how to label DC with sufficient contrast agent to render them detectable by MRI. While iron oxide nanoparticles provide the best sensitivity for detection of DC in vivo, a clinical grade iron oxide agent is not currently available. A clinical grade 19Fluorine-based perfluorcarbon nanoemulsion is available but is less sensitive, and its utility to detect DC migration in humans remains to be demonstrated using clinical scanners presently available. The ability to quantitatively track DC migration in vivo can provide important information as to whether different DC maturation and activation protocols result in improved DC migration efficiency which will determine the vaccine's immunogenicity and ultimately the tumor immunotherapy's outcome in humans. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2013. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1227
Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.
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