News Release

Real-time, observable MRI delivery updated to improve stem cell therapy for Parkinson's

RT-IMRI provides guidance and monitoring during intracerebral iPSC-derived neuron delivery enhances efficacy and safety, also aids cell survival

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair

MRI Delivery of Neural Stem Cells

image: This image shows technology and methodology involved in MRI-guided transplantation of neural stem cells into the Parkinsonian brain. view more 

Credit: Figure 4 from: Vermilyea SC et al. Real-time intraoperative MRI intracerebral delivery of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons. Cell Transplant. 2016; [epub ahead of print].

Putnam Valley, NY. (October 12, 2016) - In a study using Real-time intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (RT-IMRI) to guide the transplantation of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons into the brains of non-human primates modeled with Parkinson's disease, researchers found that RT-IMRI guidance not only allows for better visualization and monitoring of the procedure, but also helps cell survival.

The study will be published in the upcoming special American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair (ASNTR) issue of Cell Transplantation and is currently freely available on-line as an unedited, early epub at:

Induced pluripotent stem cells, a type of stem cell that can be generated directly from adult cells, offer great benefits for regenerative medicine as they propagate indefinitely and can differentiate into a variety of cell types, such as neurons, heart, pancreatic, and liver cells.

In previous studies, the researchers have found that while iPSC-derived neurons provide great opportunities for cell replacement they also present challenges.

"Our team developed an MRI-compatible trajectory guidance system that has been successful for intraoperative MRI," said study lead author Dr. Marina E. Emborg, Preclinical Parkinson's Research Program Center, Wisconsin National Primate Research Center University of Wisconsin-Madison. "We recently upgraded the system for real-time targeting and guidance and, as a result of the improvements, the procedure provides several advances for cell delivery."

The researchers report that the advancements allow for real-time pressure readings that can prevent clogging during cell delivery. They also found a way to prevent exposure to air during the procedure. Both advancements, in addition to real-time observation by MRI, add to the procedure's efficacy and safety.

Using post-mortem brain analysis, the researchers found that the transplanted cells grafted and survived well in the test animals after transplantation.

"The application of the RT-IMRI system for intracerebral targeting and delivery of iPSC-derived neuroprogenitors is feasible and presents and the advantage of allowing monitoring of cell uploading and infusion," concluded the researchers. "These methods will be particularly valuable for clinical application where safety and efficacy of the treatment is defined by the accurate delivery of cells."

"Cell therapy is the cornerstone of regenerative medicine for neurodegenerative disease," said Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, Distinguished Professor at the University of South Florida, in Tampa, FL and Co-Editor-in-Chief for Cell Transplantation. "With the advent of iPSCs, the field has made significant advances. The current study expounds upon those advances by addressing logistical concerns regarding cell administration and tracking. This method has wide applicability and may be relevant for not only Parkinson's disease, but other neurodegenerative conditions as well."


Contact: Dr. Marina E. Emborg, Preclinical Parkinson's Research Program Center, Wisconsin National Primate Research Center University of Wisconsin-Madison,1223 Capitol Court, Madison, WI 53715, USA

Tel: (608) 262-9714
Fax: (608) 263-3524

Citation: Vermilyea SC, Lu J, Olsen M, Guthrie S, Tao Y, Fekete EM, Riedel MK, Brunner K, Boettcher C, Bondarenko V, Brodsky E, Block WF, Alexander A, Zhang S-C, Emborg ME. Real-Time Intraoperative MRI Intracerebral Delivery of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neurons. Cell Transplant. Appeared or available on-line: September 14, 2016.

The Co-Editors-in-Chief for CELL TRANSPLANTATION are at the Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA and the Center for Neuropsychiatry, China Medical University Hospital, TaiChung, Taiwan. Contact: Paul R. Sanberg at, Shinn-Zong Lin at, or Associate Editor Samantha Portis at

News release by Florida Science Communications

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