Non-Invasive Imaging of the In Situ Restoration of Brain Tissue
Regenerative medicine is increasingly finding translations from the bench to the bedside. As stem cells are integrated with biomaterials for in situ tissue engineering, the complexity of the procedure is increasing and it is becoming important to monitor how these processes interact over time in vivo. Translation of this non-invasive monitoring into patients requires the development and implementation of appropriate approaches. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Michel Modo, PhD, associate professor, Department of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh, recently received a 3-year, $921,374 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to pursue one approach.
Dr. Modo’s team’s proposal aims to develop chemical exchange saturation transfer, a non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique, as a core platform to visualize multiple cell types, as well as biomaterials, while maintaining the ability to characterize newly forming tissue with other MRI techniques, such as magnetic resonance spectroscopy, as well as diffusion and perfusion MRI. Very significant technological, as well as neurobiological challenges, however, will be addressed before integration of this multi-parametric MRI into an efficient non-invasive assessment of in situ tissue engineering.
The proposed studies aim to address these challenges and provide a framework within which the team—which includes co-principal investigator McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine deputy director Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, professor of surgery, University of Pittsburgh—can eventually explore the therapeutic potential of this approach. If a newly functional tissue can be generated to replace that which is lost due to the stroke, this approach could indeed dramatically change the long-term outcome after stroke.