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Software for the Use of Multi-Modality images in External Radiotherapy

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Software and skills against cancer

Why does one cancer patient survive when another does not, despite receiving the same treatment? An EU-funded project is developing software and training future researchers to help answer this question.

Health

The ultimate goal of radiation therapy is to reach the highest probability of curing cancer, while minimising side-effects and deaths. Unfortunately, despite advanced imaging technologies, there are still difficulties in targeting and suppressing tumours. One aim of the EU-funded 'Software for the use of multi-modality images in external radiotherapy' (SUMMER) project is to develop software that will enable medical professionals to analyse and compare scans. In this way, radiation oncologists, physicians, physicists and radiologists could collaborate to improve patient diagnosis and treatment. Researchers consulted clinical experts and analysed existing radiotherapy software to determine the functional requirements of the SUMMER prototype. They also chose lung and brain tumours as targets for a proof-of-concept of the prototype. Another project aim is to train young researchers in cancer diagnostics, treatment and research equipment. Several introductory courses and summer schools have already taken place, with a focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration between academics, clinicians and industry. Once complete, SUMMER will deliver technologies and expertise for improved treatment strategies. This will support the ideal that cancer may one day be thought of as a manageable condition rather than a deadly disease.

Keywords

Cancer, radiation therapy, imaging technologies, multi-modality images, external radiotherapy, radiotherapy software, cancer diagnostics

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3 December 2021