Stem cell therapeutics is the future of regenerative medicine in the modern world. Many studies have been instigated with the hope of translating the outcome for the treatment of several disease conditions ranging from heart and neuronal disease to malignancies as grave as cancers. Stem cell therapeutics undoubtedly holds great promise on the front of regenerative medicine, however, the correct distribution and homing of these stem cells to the host site remained blinded until the recent advances in the discipline of molecular imaging. Herein, we discuss the various imaging guidance applied for determination of the proper delivery of various types of stem cell used as therapeutics for various maladies. Additionally, we scrutinize the use of several indirect labeling mechanisms for efficient tagging of the reporter entity for image guidance. Further, the promise of improving patient healthcare has led to the initiation of several clinical trials worldwide. However, in number of the cases, the benefits arrive with a price heavy enough to pose a serious health risk, one such being formation of teratomas. Thus numerous challenges and methodological obstacles must be overcome before their eloquent clinical impact can be realized. Therefore, we also discuss several clinical trials that have taken into consideration the various imaging guided protocols to monitor correct delivery and understand the distribution of therapeutic stem cells in real time.
Keywords: Molecular imaging, regenerative medicine, stem cells, stem cell tracking, therapeutics.