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April 14, 2021

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AI slashes radiotherapy process to 20 minutes

With artificial intelligence technology, the world’s first “all-in-one” radiotherapy solution was introduced at the Pudong branch of the Shanghai Cancer Center, shortening the treatment process from days to just over 20 minutes.

The new process has been used on a dozen colorectal patients with good results.

Previously, the pre-radiotherapy preparation process comprised seven steps, which took three to 15 days. Patients had to go to a hospital at least three or four times and use different machines during the procedure. The waiting time for each visit lasted for hours.

For the convenience of patients and to streamline the process, the Shanghai Cancer Center teamed up with United Imaging, a Shanghai-based medical equipment firm, to develop the world’s first machine that combines positioning CT scanning and radiotherapy via AI technology. Patients no longer have to visit different rooms for different procedure.

“All procedures for radiotherapy preparation and treatment are conducted on one single bed,” said Dr Zhang Zhen, director of the center’s radiotherapy center. “AI technology achieves automatic positioning and automatic radiation dosage calculations, which saves a lot of time.”

A trial run saw the first colorectal patient finish the entire procedure in 23 minutes.

According to medical experts, about 70 percent of cancer patients require radiotherapy.

So far, the “all-in-one” solution has only been used on colorectal cancer patients, but research has been conducted to study its use on other types of cancer, they added.


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