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Direct Cell Radiolabeling for in Vivo Cell Tracking with PET and SPECT Imaging

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10266-10318
Number of pages53
JournalChemical Reviews
Issue number11
Early online date12 May 2022
Accepted/In press10 Jan 2022
E-pub ahead of print12 May 2022
Published8 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The authors thank Dr Orbett T. Alexander (Chemistry Department, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa) for sharing X-ray crystallography data. This work was supported by the EPSRC programme for next generation molecular imaging and therapy with radionuclides (EP/S032789/1), the Wellcome EPSRC Centre for Medical Engineering at KCL [grant number WT 203148/Z/16/Z], a CRUK Multidisciplinary Project Award [grant number C48390/A21153], the King’s College London & Imperial College London EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Medical Imaging [EP/L015226/1], the KCL/UCL Comprehensive Cancer Imaging Centre funded by CRUK and EPSRC in association with the MRC and DoH (England), the Medical Research Council Confidence in Concepts scheme, the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre at KCL, the KHP/KCL CRUK Cancer Centre, a Wellcome Trust Multiuser Equipment Grant: A multiuser radioanalytical facility for molecular imaging and radionuclide therapy research [212885/Z/18/Z], the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and KCL [grant number IS-BRC-1215-20006], the MRC Doctoral Training Programme, the Research England Confidence in Collaboration scheme. 'This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [WT 203148/Z/16/Z][212885/Z/18/Z]. For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 American Chemical Society


  • accepted manuscript

    ChemRev_20220107_revision_FINAL_FMA.pdf, 25 MB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:17 Jan 2022

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

    Licence:CC BY

  • acs.chemrev.1c00767

    acs.chemrev.1c00767.pdf, 32.8 MB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:27 May 2022

    Version:Final published version

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King's Authors


The arrival of cell-based therapies is a revolution in medicine. However, its safe clinical application in a rational manner depends on reliable, clinically applicable methods for determining the fate and trafficking of therapeutic cells in vivo using medical imaging techniques known as in vivo cell tracking. Radionuclide imaging using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) or positron emission tomography (PET) has several advantages over other imaging modalities for cell tracking because of its high sensitivity (requiring low amounts of probe per cell for imaging) and whole-body quantitative imaging capability using clinically available scanners. For cell tracking with radionuclides, ex vivo direct cell radiolabeling, that is, radiolabeling cells before their administration, is the simplest and most robust method, allowing labeling of any cell type without the need for genetic modification. This Review covers the development and application of direct cell radiolabeling probes utilizing a variety of chemical approaches: organic and inorganic/coordination (radio)chemistry, nanomaterials, and biochemistry. We describe the key early developments and the most recent advances in the field, identifying advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches and informing future development and choice of methods for clinical and preclinical application.

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