Rachela Popovtzer is an Associate Professor, Head of the Bioengineering Track and Head of the Laboratory of Nanomedicine in the Faculty of Engineering at Bar Ilan University, which she joined in 2008. She is a member of the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA). She was a Visiting Professor at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center during 2016. Prof. Popovtzer received her M.Sc. and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Tel Aviv University, and her B.Sc. in Physics from BIU. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Michigan with Prof. Raoul Kopelman. Prof. Popovtzer is a winner of numerous international grants and awards, such as the Intel Prize, the EU Environment and Living foundation Prize and the Atol Charitable Trust Fellow in Nano Medicine. Her current research interest focuses on the development of ’smart’ nanoprobes for theranostic applications.
Clinical trials using cell-based therapies show contradictory results, which prevent further advancement and implementation of such therapies. Thus, research must elucidate the mechanisms underlying the long-term fate of transplanted cells.
To answer this need, we developed a technique for noninvasive cell tracking, applying gold nanoparticles and CT imaging. We then defined design principles for long-term and quantitative imaging of the therapeutic cells, in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We show that the cells can be tracked over long periods of time using CT, detecting as few as 500 cells and successfully monitoring their functionality. We also used image analysis tools to accurately quantify the number of cells in the muscle.
This cell tracking technology has the potential to advance the future of cell therapy, and become an essential tool in pre-clinical, as well as clinical trials.
For further details, please see our study ('Publications' tab in the Menu):
Meir R, Betzer O, Motiei M, Kronfeld N, Brodie C, Popovtzer R. Design principles for noninvasive, longitudinal and quantitative cell tracking with nanoparticle-based CT imaging. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, 13, 421 – 429, 2017.
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