The study has determined GNTs are effective in helping doctors track stems cells through the body by making them 40 times better than standard contrast agents used in magnetic resonance imaging. Contrast agents help doctors spot signs of disease or damage in MR images.
Researchers at Rice and the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston reported in the journal Biomaterials that mesenchymal stem cells drawn from pig bone marrow labeled with GNTs are easily spotted under MRI. The technique holds promise for tracking the progress of tagged cells as they travel through a patient's body.
Ultimately, the team hopes the magnetic properties of tagged stem cells will allow doctors to manipulate them in vivo and direct cells to specific locations -- in the heart, for instance -- where they can heal damaged tissue.
GNTs are carbon nanotubes that contain gadolinium, an element commonly used in designing contrast elements for use in MRI. Though toxic, gadolinium is chelated, or chemically bound, which makes it safer for injection into the body. But clinical agents like the gadolinium-based Magnevist cannot enter cells.
However, GNTs can. Invented in the lab of Rice chemistry professor Lon Wilson in 2005, the nanotubes sequester bundles of gadolinium ions, which enhance contrast in MRIs but cannot escape their carbon cages. This makes them biologically inert and safe for tagging cells from within.
The team found GNTs did not affect the stem cells' ability to differentiate into other types of cells or to self-renew, though work continues to characterize their ability to adhere to cell scaffolds under various conditions.
Lesa Tran, a fourth-year graduate student in Wilson's lab, was the primary author of the paper, and Wilson was corresponding author. Co-authors were Rice graduate student Ramkumar Krishnamurthy; Raja Muthupillai, a senior physicist at St. Luke's; and of the Texas Heart Institute: Maria da Graça Cabreira-Hansen, a research scientist; James Willerson, president and medical director; and Emerson Perin, medical director of the Stem Cell Center.
Primary funding for the project came from the $1 million NIH Challenge Grant, with additional funding by the National Science Foundation and the Robert A. Welch Foundation.
Read the abstract here: http://tinyurl.com/34fpb5m.
Download artwork here: http://www.media.rice.edu/images/media/NEWSRELS/1108_gadonanotube.jpg
Caption: Dark spots are aggregates of gadonanotubes (GNTs) in the cytoplasm of a mesenchymal stem cell. Tests show GNTs are highly effective for tagging and tracking stem cells through magnetic resonance imaging. (Credit: Lesa Tran/Rice University)
Located in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked one of America's best teaching and research universities. Known for its "unconventional wisdom," Rice is distinguished by its: size -- 3,279 undergraduates and 2,277 graduate students; selectivity -- 12 applicants for each place in the freshman class; resources -- an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 5-to-1; sixth largest endowment per student among American private research universities; residential college system, which builds communities that are both close-knit and diverse; and collaborative culture, which crosses disciplines, integrates teaching and research, and intermingles undergraduate and graduate work.
David Ruth | EurekAlert!
Enzyme with surprising dual function
24.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Flexibility and arrangement - the interaction of ribonucleic acid and water
24.01.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
24.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
24.01.2018 | Health and Medicine