New strategies based on the activation of a patient's immune response are being sought to complement present conventional exogenous cancer therapies. Elucidating the trafficking pathways of immune cells in vivo, together with their migratory properties in relation to their differentiation and activation status, is useful for understanding how the immune system interacts with cancer. Methods based on tissue sampling to monitor immune responses are inadequate for repeatedly characterizing the responses of the immune system in different organs. A solution to this problem might come from molecular and cellular imaging - a branch of biomedical sciences that combines biotechnology and imaging methods to characterize, in vivo, the molecular and cellular processes involved in normal and pathologic states. The general concepts of noninvasive imaging of targeted cells as well as the technology and probes applied to cell-mediated cancer immunotherapy imaging are outlined in this review.
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