Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Anatomy and Cell Biology


Dr. Gregory A. Dekaban

Second Advisor

Dr. Lique Coolen

Third Advisor

Dr. Martin Sandig


Dendritic cell (DC)-based cancer vaccines in clinical trials are promising, but their overall efficacy requires improvement. It is uncertain which DC subset, state of DC maturation/activation, and route of administration allow for optimum DC migration to lymph nodes (LNs) in vivo, thereby improving vaccine efficacy. A non-invasive imaging modality capable of tracking DC-based vaccine migration in patients would provide clinicians valuable information regarding these variables. A superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent was used to label bone marrow-derived DCs (BMDCs) for tracking their subsequent migration using cellular MRI in a mouse model. Data indicate SPIO mechanically impedes migration of labelled-BMDCs in vivo compared to control cells. Data also demonstrate MRI is a sensitive modality capable of detecting differences in BMDC migration to LNs. These studies provide important information regarding the application cellular MRI as a means to assess parameters of DC-based immunotherapeutics for improving their efficacy.



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