Radiotherapy for cancer is faster thanks to AI

Head mask

All NHS trusts in England will be given access to a new kind of artificial intelligence technology that shortens the time cancer patients must wait before beginning radiotherapy at no cost.

In order to eliminate cancerous cells while sparing as many healthy ones as possible, it aids physicians in determining where to focus therapeutic radiation beams.

Microsoft was used to train the AI program by Addenbrooke's Hospital researchers.

They claim that it has been in the works for ten years.

In order to carefully "contouring" or outline bones and organs, doctors typically spend between 25 minutes and two hours working through about 100 scan cross-sections for each patient. However, the researchers claim that the AI program operates 2.5 times more quickly.

Medical professionals want to avoid harming the nearby bladder or rectum when treating the prostate gland, for instance, as this could cause patients to have lifelong continence issues.

Dr. Raj Jena, at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, who has been overseeing the work for treating patients with head, neck, and prostate cancers, said on BBC Two's Newsnight program that "that can get so bad that a patient's life becomes dominated by that.".

"I have patients who have maps of the cities they are visiting and are familiar with the locations of all the restrooms. ".

A program called InnerEye was trained on patient data by Dr. Jena and Microsoft.

After that, the NHS Artificial Intelligence Laboratory donated £500,000 to Addenbrooke's to pay for the required safety checks and evaluations.

And the program is now being given to a manufacturer that has agreed to allow other NHS trusts to access the cloud-based technology at cost price.

The government has been investing in AI projects across the NHS - but this is the first NHS-developed AI program released as a medical-imaging device.

Every contour that the AI program drew is still verified by doctors.

But the researchers say it is about 90 percent accurate, with clinicians approving its work without any corrections about two-thirds of the time.

Dr. Jena stated that the work of the AI was preferred by their consulting colleagues to even the work of their own colleagues.

Royal College of Radiologists president Dr Katharine Halliday said: "We are very excited about the potential of AI in replacing some processes and procedures, including within diagnostics and cancer therapy.

"AI has the capability of speeding up the diagnostic process, helping doctors catch disease earlier and giving patients the best possible chance of recovery.

"Clinical radiologists interpret complex scans and guide treatment or surgery - there is no question that real-life clinical radiologists are essential and irreplaceable.

"However, a clinical radiologist with the data, insight and accuracy of AI is, and will increasingly be, a formidable force in patient care.

"While AI shows great promise and will certainly help free up time for a workforce under strain, it cannot replace highly trained and skilled professionals. ".

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