The ability to determine both location and viability of transplanted cells is critical to the success of all cell therapies and the lack of this ability represents a major bottleneck to the field. If therapeutic cells go to the wrong place (e.g. cells intended for the brain go to the lung) there is little chance the therapy will work. The most common method of tracking cells in humans today is autopsy, which is highly invasive and unnecessarily extends the time required to bring these potentially curative treatments to patients. The FDA and other regulators have identified this issue and are including a requirement for non-invasive cell tracking in current guidance.
Magnelles® (magnetic organelles) are living MRI contrast agents that allow therapeutic cells containing them to be tracked in vivo using non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Magnelle-poweredTM cells show up as dark (T2/T2*) spots in MR images