IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency

11/28/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/28/2022 06:28

Radiation Therapy on the Wave of Innovation

Another significant example of how radiation therapy is becoming increasingly innovative is in the application of artificial intelligence (AI). Tools using AI have the power to improve the efficiency, accuracy and quality assurance of radiation therapy. Such tools can be applied at all stages of a patient's treatment, from diagnosis to treatment and follow-up, bringing about unprecedented improvements in automatization. "In health care, AI is already making its entrance in a variety of subfields, including disease detection. That includes both medical imaging as well as digital pathology, and the optimization of health care services logistics and cancer treatments," said Jan Seuntjens, Head of Medical Physics at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Canada. The path to the clinical implementation of AI tools is not clear of obstacles, said Kamal Akbarov, a radiation oncologist at the IAEA. He explained that several challenges still lie ahead, leaving many AI tools at a proof-ofconcept stage and far from clinical adoption. Nonetheless, current studies and the increased interest of commercial vendors show the potential of AI tools in radiation therapy. The IAEA held a meeting of experts in October 2021 to discuss AI-based approaches in nuclear technologies, including radiotherapy. Furthermore, a joint project between the IAEA and the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) on radiotherapy contouring skills in AI-enabled clinical environments is planned to start in 2022. The project will consider whether AI can help redistribute the workload from the health workforce by enabling quicker treatment planning.