Amsterdam UMC Imaging Center

Enhanced imaging to improve outcomes - Making the invisible visible

ResearchPublished on 24 Jun 2021

Imaging is an indispensable tool for diagnosing, investigating, predicting and treating cancer. Innovations in the field of imaging provide (future) patients and researchers with new opportunities, such as a faster diagnosis or an improved assessment to determine which treatment is most effective.

Diagnose, investigate, predict and treat
The opening of Amsterdam UMC’s Imaging Center on location VUmc, where ultra-modern imaging facilities are gathered together under one roof, was a huge leap forward for patients, practitioners and researchers. 

No patient is the same. That is why it is so important to get an accurate picture of the course of the disease in an individual. Opened in 2019, the Imaging Center of Amsterdam UMC offers technical facilities that provide a good diagnostic picture, and brings together clinical care, research, and drug development under one roof. That means more benefits for both the patient and the researcher. Guus van Dongen, professor of Medical Imaging and founder of the Imaging Center was recently awarded the prize for the best basic science article in 2020 and the overall best article in 2020 by the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Read more about these awards on the website of the society of nuclear medicine & molecular imaging.

Treatment and research under the same roof
The Imaging Center is a unique and remarkable facility. It is the only place in the world where production, treatment and research are brought together in one center. This is where the most advanced medical imaging techniques for healthcare and scientific research come together with the latest techniques in the field of diagnostics. "Being in one place allows us to diagnose faster and see which treatment is best," said Guus van Dongen, professor of Medical Imaging and founder of the center. 

Above all, the Imaging Center is a place where we can treat patients in the best and fastest way in the most pleasant environment possible.

Guus van Dongen, professor of Medical Imaging.

More affordable plus improved patient care
Because the Imaging Center hosts both medical and pharmaceutical research, the costs of drug development can be reduced. Treatments become more targeted: the right treatment for the patient can be administered at the right time. In addition, the center has an important international role in drug development and cost control. “In the Imaging Center, we make the medical isotopes and tracers for other Dutch hospitals and foreign research centers in an environmentally friendly way,” says Van Dongen. “But here too, patient care remains paramount,” he continues. “Above all, the Imaging Center is a place where we can treat patients in the best and fastest way in the most pleasant environment possible.” 

Bert Windhorst, professor of Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry at Amsterdam UMC, received a European grant of 30 million euros to conduct research into the effectiveness of immunotherapy. He will conduct the research at the Imaging Center where it is possible to visualize immunotherapy dynamics using non-invasive and high-end imaging techniques. With the development of ‘tracing substances’, it can be determined whether immunotherapy is promising for a patient. This groundbreaking research would not have been possible without the Imaging Center.

Joining forces
The aim is to develop new imaging techniques, tracers, methods and medicines in order to improve healthcare for all. The project was awarded a grant of 30 million euros from the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a joint technology initiative of the European Union (EU) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry and Associations (EFPIA). The endeavor, launched on October 1, 2019, brings together ten European top scientific institutions, seven pharmaceutical companies, four small- to medium-sized companies, and one patient organization. This type of cooperation characterizes our chosen course in the fight against cancer: progress can only be made by joining forces and expertise. 

The header image was made by William Moore, Wiegerinck architecten

Part of this text was derived from the article “Looking at what drugs are doing in patients” by Daniëla Cohen. Read the original article here

This article was previously published on 24 Jun 2021 on the website of Cancer Center Amsterdam.
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