Several molecular therapies require the implantation of cells that secrete biotherapeutic molecules and imaging the location and microenvironment of the cellular implant to ascertain its function. We demonstrate noninvasive in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of self-assembled microcontainers that are capable of cell encapsulation. Negative contrast was obtained to discern the microcontainer with MRI; positive contrast was obtained in the complete absence of background signal. MRI on a clinical scanner highlights the translational nature of this research. The microcontainers were loaded with cells that were dispersed in an extracellular matrix, and implanted both subcutaneously and in human tumor xenografts in SCID mice. MRI was performed on the implants, and microcontainers retrieved postimplantation showed cell viability both within and proximal to the implant. The microcontainers are characterized by their small size, three dimensionality, controlled porosity, ease of parallel fabrication, chemical and mechanical stability, and noninvasive traceability in vivo.
- Cell encapsulation
- Cell therapy
- Magnetic resonance microscopy
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