In recent times, cell therapy using human material has been recognized as an important field in the treatment of human disease. The experimental field of stem cell therapy has shown promise for new types of treatment. However, the major challenge in the development of stem cell-based therapies for tissue regeneration – is the absence of sensitive validated clinically translatable approaches to long-term non-invasive in vivo monitoring of the fate of therapeutic stem cells after their administration to patients. Such non-invasive imaging methods are critical for monitoring therapeutic process efficacy and when coupled with functional tests provide answers to why and how therapy did or did not work. Therefore, the objectives of this proposal is to develop novel clinically-translatable and standardized approaches to enable long-term repetitive non-invasive in vivo imaging monitoring of spatial and temporal dynamics of stem cell engraftment, migration, persistence of stem cell-derived tissues, their differentiation and contribution to improvement of the bio-physiological function. Another angle of this cell-based approach is the immunotherapy of cancer. Different types of cancer immunotherapy were developed and their efficacy was confirmed recently. One way is the artificial adjuvant cells and the other way is the inhibition of immune checkpoint system as anti-PD-1 antibody therapy. The whole body trafficking of both immune cells which strengthen the lymphocytes directly attacking the cancer cells and check the proliferation of cancer cells should be followed for better therapeutic outcome.
All three parties are the leading groups in the field of molecular imaging and stem cell as well as immune cells study in the Asia, and most importantly, the three parties had close research collaboration over the past decade.