Over the past decade, cell therapy has emerged as one of the fastest growing therapeutic directions for treating devastating conditions such as cancer and organ failure. This emergence has been enabled by advances in cellular engineering, improvements in the safety of cell-based grafts, and optimizations in culture manufacturing.

Current technology struggles to monitor grafts that survive and repair the body after administration. A reliable imaging method capable of cell tracking and monitoring engraftment could substantially improve the success rate of cellular therapies.

Presently, clinicians and scientists rely on measurements that take months to years after engraftment to assess treatment efficacy. These measurements, such as symptomatic improvement, functional imaging, and histological measurements, provide little insight into the engraftment process. A true cell tracking modality for stem cell therapy would allow clinicians to monitor engraftment in real-time, and would ideally have the following properties.

In this tutorial, we explore the capabilities of magnetic particle imaging (MPI), which is a disruptive imaging approach that is near-ideal for cell tracking.