We all know what’s a tattoo and what’s a stem cell. But what is a tattoo stem cell? According to Hai-Ling Margaret Cheng, a biomedical engineer, tattoo stem cells are created when stem cells are being “inked” by a green colored mixture. Okay… so how can this aid the researchers? This is when things get interesting.
“You can’t overcome hurdles without seeing the cells…” said Cheng. Before this new tattoo stem cells development, researchers had to do surgery to get a glimpse of the cell’s activities in the animal’s body. But now with the “inked” stem cells, researchers can now see what is going on with the stem cells once they get injected into the animal’s body. This allows them to track and monitor the stem cells non-invasively under MRI, and more easily determine if new cells are being developed.
Right now researchers have only tested on rats and later pigs. They hope to get this tested on humans soon and hope that this new development will benefit stem cell research in many ways.