Simple Science @Heart: Magnetic particles in cells help track heart treatments
Tiny magnetic particles are helping doctors track cells in the body.
With stem cell therapy, doctors can adapt blood cells to fight disease. But it’s hard to tell exactly where cells go and how many go where they are supposed to. Safely tracking them with magnets would help scientists better understand how new cell therapies combat heart disease.
Researchers injected several people with cells containing magnetic particles. MRI scans were then able to pick up the magnetic signal from these cells and track their movement through the body. The magnetically labeled cells moved like normal ones and were safe for study participants. However, magnetizing cells isn’t quite ready for prime time – the researchers say more tests are needed before researchers can use this technique regularly.
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Jennifer Richards, M.D., vascular surgeon at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cardiovascular Science in Scotland.
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