New “ink” allows experts to view effects of stem cells in real-time

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As if body art couldn’t get any more extreme, University of Toronto engineers have created a way to get inked at a cellular level. The new chemical mixture is being hailed as a tattoo for stem cells — a tracer “ink” that gives researchers the ability to monitor stem cells in unprecedented detail after they’ve been injected into the body.

Before this development, scientists had to resort to surgery to get a literal glimpse of the cells’ fate after they were injected into an animal’s body. Now, they have the ability to track the results in real-time, without having to put the patient under the knife.

U of T professor Hai-Ling Margaret Cheng said the skin-deep discovery holds the potential to revolutionize stem cell research and give scientists the ability to maximize the effectiveness of their therapies.

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“We were blind once the cells were introduced into the body,” said Cheng. “This will allow us to see cells in a non-invasive manner using MRI and to monitor them for, potentially, a very long time.”

Read full, original post: Tattoo treatment could boost stem cell research

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