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How AI will change cancer treatment


InnerEye – a revolution in radiotherapy: how AI will change the treatment of oncological diseases

The new development can significantly save the time of doctors who are puzzling over the definition of radiation therapy zones.

British hospitals coming soon get access to a new artificial intelligence technology that reduces the work time of doctors when prescribing radiation therapy for cancer patients.

This technology helps physicians semi-automatically determine exactly where to direct the therapeutic beams of radiation in order to effectively destroy cancer cells and preserve as many healthy ones as possible.

An artificial intelligence program called “InnerEye” was developed by researchers at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge in collaboration with the company Microsoft and became the apogee of many years of work in this area.

For each patient, doctors typically spend 25 minutes to 2 hours looking at about 100 x-ray sections, long and precise tracings of the patient’s bones and organs, to determine the most effective and safest area to apply radiation.

For example, when treating the prostate, doctors want to avoid damage to the nearby bladder or rectum, which can lead to lifelong urinary control problems.

According to the researchers responsible for developing the new program, InnerEye is two and a half times faster than professional radiologists, while maintaining an accuracy of about 90%.

Dr. Raj Jena worked with Microsoft to train InnerEye on data from his previous patients. Soon the artificial intelligence laboratory of the UK National Health Service (NHS) donated £500,000 to Addenbrooke Hospital to fund these studies. Now the program is fully operational and will soon be rolled out to other UK hospitals.

The UK government has been investing in AI projects for a long time, but this is the first such development to be released as a real medical imaging device.

Physicians still check every circuit marked by the program, but the researchers claim that the algorithm works extremely accurately, and about two-thirds of the time clinical experts approve its work without any changes at all.

President of the Royal College of Radiologists Dr Catherine Holliday said: “We are very excited about the potential of artificial intelligence in replacing some processes and procedures, including cancer diagnosis and therapy. Artificial intelligence has the potential to speed up the diagnostic process, help doctors detect disease earlier, and give patients the best chance of recovery.”

According to Holliday, there is no doubt that such programs will not be able to replace professional radiologists in any way, but they can significantly speed up their work, increasing productivity – they certainly can. Holliday also has no doubt that AI-based technologies will continue to be used more and more in medicine, opening up new ways to treat patients. Here it is, the future.

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