Prof. Dr. Wouter Nagengast is trained as a Gastroenterologist and Pharmacist and currently works in the UMCG as a clinical gastroenterologist with a focus on oncology, advanced endoscopic imaging, endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR), and submucosal endoscopic dissection (ESD). He obtained a PhD at the Department of Medical Oncology in 2009. During his PhD, he developed several targeted nuclear tracers for molecular imaging and validated them in preclinical models and clinical trials. With a fascination for the possibilities of optical imaging, he developed an innovative new endoscopic technology, molecular fluorescence endoscopy (MFE), to detect dysplasia and perform treatment follow-up during endoscopy procedures in oncology and IBD.
Since clinical translation and implementation of this technology require a strong cross-disciplinary team of physicians, chemists, pharmacists, biologists, physicists, and engineers he is PI of the research group Optical Molecular Imaging Groningen together with Prof. Schelto Kruijff and Prof Max Witjes. Within OMIG they managed to develop and produce new fluorescent antibodies via GMP regulations and applied them to over 250 patients in clinical trials. Besides fluorescence visualization during endoscopy, OMIG has enabled quantitative fluorescence molecular endoscopy by correcting background tissue optical properties, i.e. absorption and scattering properties of the tissue. By fluorescent labeling of drugs, this technology enables quantitative insight into drug distribution in the gastrointestinal tract as recently demonstrated in rectal and esophageal cancer patients and IBD patients.