Magnetic resonance tracking of dendritic cells in melanoma patients for monitoring of cellular therapy

Nat Biotechnol. 2005 Nov;23(11):1407-13. doi: 10.1038/nbt1154. Epub 2005 Oct 30.


The success of cellular therapies will depend in part on accurate delivery of cells to target organs. In dendritic cell therapy, in particular, delivery and subsequent migration of cells to regional lymph nodes is essential for effective stimulation of the immune system. We show here that in vivo magnetic resonance tracking of magnetically labeled cells is feasible in humans for detecting very low numbers of dendritic cells in conjunction with detailed anatomical information. Autologous dendritic cells were labeled with a clinical superparamagnetic iron oxide formulation or (111)In-oxine and were co-injected intranodally in melanoma patients under ultrasound guidance. In contrast to scintigraphic imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allowed assessment of the accuracy of dendritic cell delivery and of inter- and intra-nodal cell migration patterns. MRI cell tracking using iron oxides appears clinically safe and well suited to monitor cellular therapy in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Separation
  • Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Dendritic Cells / transplantation*
  • Ferric Compounds / chemistry*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Indium Radioisotopes / therapeutic use
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Radionuclide Imaging / methods


  • Ferric Compounds
  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • ferric oxide