17 February 2021
Journal of the Royal Society Interface
A key challenge for stem cell therapies is the delivery of therapeutic cells to the repair site. Magnetic targeting has been proposed as a platform for defining clinical sites of delivery more effectively. In this paper, we use a combined in vitro experimental and mathematical modelling approach to explore the magnetic targeting of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) labelled with magnetic nanoparticles using an external magnet. This study aims to (i) demonstrate the potential of magnetic tagging for MSC delivery, (ii) examine the effect of red blood cells (RBCs) on MSC capture efficacy and (iii) highlight how mathematical models can provide both insight into mechanics of therapy and predictions about cell targeting in vivo. In vitro MSCs are cultured with magnetic nanoparticles and circulated with RBCs over an external magnet. Cell capture efficacy is measured for varying magnetic field strengths and RBC percentages. We use a 2D continuum mathematical model to represent the flow of magnetically tagged MSCs with RBCs. Numerical simulations demonstrate qualitative agreement with experimental results showing better capture with stronger magnetic fields and lower levels of RBCs. We additionally exploit the mathematical model to make hypotheses about the role of extravasation and identify future in vitro experiments to quantify this effect.
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