Guus van Dongen from Cancer Center Amsterdam has been honored with the 2023 Amsterdam Impact Award in the category of Health for his development of novel imaging techniques to visualize the behavior of medicines in the body at the molecular level.

"We have no clue about what drugs really do in our bodies, it's like driving into Amsterdam without navigation," says Guus van Dongen, professor of medical imaging and biomarkers at Cancer Center Amsterdam.

To shed light on the behavoir of drugs, Prof. Van Dongen has developed a technique to make medications slightly radioactive so that they illuminate on a scan, essentially a radioactive TomTom. This method can be applied is many cases, including cancer and neurological treatment.

Prof. Van Dongen explains: "As people age, we increasingly face neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. Since our brains are quite sealed off, to get a drug there and be sure it reaches the target, there are no other options than imaging."

Prof. Van Dongen also played a pivotal role in establishing the Amsterdam UMC Imaging Center. Recently, he has embarked on a new challenge at a biotech company investigating the application of visualization throughout the entire development process of new drugs "so that we can ensure they do what they are supposed to do along the way."

About the Impact Awards:

The Impact Awards are part of the Amsterdam Science & Innovation Awards recognizing the most innovative scientific ideas in Amsterdam. The awards are an initiative of IXA (Innovation Exchange Amsterdam, the Knowledge Transfer Office of the UvA, VU, HvA, and Amsterdam UMC, in collaboration with esteemed partners including the City of Amsterdam, the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Rabobank, Arnold & Siedsman, De Vries & Metman, uniQure, MATRIX, Sanquin, AXON, Patent Business, Amsterdam Science Park, and NLC.

This article was adapted from the orginal announcement of the Impact Awards here.

For more information contact Cancer Center Amsterdam.

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