Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography Imaging of Selective Lobar Delivery of Stem Cells in Ex Vivo Lung Model of Mechanical Ventilation

J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv. 2023 Feb;36(1):20-26. doi: 10.1089/jamp.2022.0013. Epub 2022 Dec 30.


Introduction: The delivery of cell therapies may be an important frontier to treat different respiratory diseases in the near future. However, the cell size, delivery conditions, cell viability, and effect in the pulmonary function are critical factors. We performed a proof-of-concept experiment using ex vivo lungs and novel subglottic airway device that allows for selective lobar isolation and administration of drugs and biologics in liquid solution deep into the lung tissues, while simultaneously ventilating the rest of the lung lobes. Methods: We used radiolabeled cells and positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) imaging to demonstrate the feasibility of high-yield cell delivery to a specifically targeted lobe. This study proposes an alternative delivery method of live cells labeled with radioactive isotope into the lung parenchyma and tracks the cell delivery using PET-CT imaging. The technique combines selective lobar isolation and lobar infusion to carry large particles distal to the trachea, subtending bronchial segments and reaching alveoli in targeted regions. Results: The solution with cells and carrier achieved a complete and homogeneous lobar distribution. An increase in tissue density was shown on the computed tomography (CT) scan, and the PET-CT imaging demonstrated retention of the activity at central, peripheral lung parenchyma, and pleural surface. The increase in CT density and metabolic activity of the isotope was restricted to the desired lobe only without leak to other lobes. Conclusion: The selective lobe delivery is targeted and imaging-guided by bronchoscopy and CT to a specific diseased lobe during mechanical ventilation. The feasibility of high-yield cell delivery demonstrated in this study will lead to the development of potential novel therapies that contribute to lung health.

Keywords: lung cell therapy; lung health; mechanical ventilation; pulmonary delivery platform; selective lobe delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography*
  • Respiration, Artificial*
  • Stem Cells