5. To characterise the exogenous cell behaviour during repair and surgical intervention
With new cell therapies we need to observe that the treatments we develop are better than the existing therapy being used by clinicians or provide a new way of curing an otherwise incurable condition.
In order for us to understand this in more detail, we need to measure the function and behaviour of our cells when delivered to the patient. In simple terms, what are the cells doing and where do they go after administration? This simple objective requires new ways to follow, or track, the cells when given to the patient, using methods that are already or could easily be available in the NHS.
This programme is studying new methods by which we can track cells and also measure their improved performance to heal cartilage and bones in patients suffering with osteoarthritis. We are using small magnetic particles called SPIONS which will show up in an MRI image and hence allow tracing of our delivered cells.
In more detail
Cell therapies aim to deliver healing cells to the patient and present huge potential for regeneration and repair of cartilage. The challenge lies in defining the success of the delivered cells after they enter the patients. To do this, we need to track the cells around the body of the patient and determine if the cells have reached the right location and stay there having a positive impact. In the Centre, we are developing new ways we can achieve this using clinically relevant imaging systems such as MRI and PET. By adapting and designing new protocols for enhanced cell tracking in patients, we can use these methods in our experimental systems and align them direct to our clinical studies using existing clinical imaging facilities. This provides a well validated and rapid route to clinic.