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Visualization of Undifferentiated Neural Stem/Progenitor Cells

Stem cell‐based therapy using neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PCs) derived from human‐induced pluripotent cells (hiPSCs) represents a promising approach for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and neurotrauma. However, not all transplanted cells fully differentiate into mature neurons and glial cells, even following the application of clinically “safe” clones, undifferentiated cells can trigger tumorigenic overgrowth. Now, researchers led by Masaya Nakamura and Hideyuki Okano (Keio University School of Medicine, Shinjuku‐ku, Tokyo, Japan) have taken advantage of the expression of the 18 kDa translocator protein (TSPO) to visualize residual immature neural cells after NS/PC transplantation in the central nervous system with positron emission tomography using a TSPO ligand. For more on how these new findings from Tanimoto et al. may have critical importance in regenerative medicine, see STEM CELLS Translational Medicine now!