Year 8/NCE

Stem cells offer tremendous potential to treat previously intractable diseases. However, the clinical translation of these therapies presents unique challenges. One of which is the absence of robust methods to monitor cell location and fate after delivery to the body. The delivery and biological distribution of stem cells over time can be much less predictable compared to conventional therapeutics, such as small-molecule therapeutic drugs. This basic fact can cause road blocks in the clinical translation, or in the regulatory path, which may cause delays in getting promising treatments into patients. My research aims to meet these challenges by developing new non-invasive cell tracking platforms for emerging stem cell therapies. Over the past year, we have made significant progress in the development nuclear imaging methods to track therapeutic cell types in the body with high sensitivity and specificity. Moreover, we have developed novel non-viral vector technologies for the delivery of gene therapy and imaging agents to cells.