AI Proposes the Best Radiation Treatment Plans in Clinical Practice for the First Time

CWI researchers, together with the department of radiation oncology of Amsterdam UMC, have developed software based on AI that quickly proposes multiple radiation treatment plans for each patient. Amsterdam UMC has treated the first patient with a plan proposed by the new AI on March 17, 2020.

Radiation is one of the most important treatments for cancer. Usually it takes doctors quite some time to design a radiation treatment plan for a specific patient. However, it takes the new software only a few minutes to come up with a whole range of treatment plans.

The software functions as a type of ‘route planner’ for the doctor: it presents multiple plans based on the data of the patient that represent trade-offs between giving sufficient radiation doses to the tumor with as little damage possible to the surrounding organs. This not only helps the doctors to make plans faster, it will also improve plan quality.

The innovative technique will be used for the treatment of prostate cancer with internal radiation.

Research and Development

In the research and development stages, a blind test was performed with a team of radiation oncologists, showing both plans previously made and used in the clinic and new AI-made plans for the same patients. The new AI technique proved highly successful with radiation oncologists preferring an AI-based plan in 98% of the cases.

Peter Bosman, senior researcher at CWI’s Life Sciences and Health group and project leader: “Our form of AI delivers a spectrum of plans very fast, that represents the trade-offs between delivering sufficient radiation dose with as little damage to surrounding tissue as possible. This gives immediate insight into what is feasible for a specific patient. This relieves doctors from undertaking a complex approach to configuring a treatment plan using existing software that requires intensive human-computer interaction.”

Check out more on the new AI technique.

YouTube video about the project (in Dutch).

Interview with Peter Bosman in Bits&Chips (in Dutch).


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