Innovations in Radiotherapy Technology.10 Jul 2018
Many low- and middle-income countries, together with remote and low socioeconomic populations within high-income countries, lack the resources and services to deal with cancer. The challenges in upgrading or introducing the necessary services are enormous, from screening and diagnosis to radiotherapy planning/treatment and quality assurance. There are severe shortages not only in equipment, but also in the capacity to train, recruit and retain staff as well as in their ongoing professional development via effective international peer-review and collaboration. Here we describe some examples of emerging technology innovations based on real-time software and cloud-based capabilities that have the potential to redress some of these areas. These include: (i) automatic treatment planning to reduce physics staffing shortages, (ii) real-time image-guided adaptive radiotherapy technologies, (iii) fixed-beam radiotherapy treatment units that use patient (rather than gantry) rotation to reduce infrastructure costs and staff-to-patient ratios, (iv) cloud-based infrastructure programmes to facilitate international collaboration and quality assurance and (v) high dose rate mobile cobalt brachytherapy techniques for intraoperative radiotherapy.