The top five takeaways from ASTRO 2019

The top five takeaways from ASTRO 2019

por Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | September 18, 2019
Rad Oncology Proton Therapy

“Machine learning can make doctors more efficient and treatment safer by reducing the risk of error,” Reddy said in a statement announcing the results. “It has the potential for influencing all aspects of radiation oncology today — anything where a computer can look at data and recognize a pattern.”

The limits of AI
Despite the promise of machine learning to impact care, some experts cast doubt on the ethics of using patient information for machine learning.

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During his keynote, David Magnus, the Thomas A. Raffin professor of Medicine and Biomedical Ethics and professor of pediatrics and medicine at Stanford University, talked about the ethics of sharing de-identified data with third parties without consent.

“We need to think about a new model of data stewardship, recognizing the duties to protect patients and the data entrusted to their providers,” Magnus said.

Magnus also warned that use of AI can be limited when data that is missing from underrepresented populations, which can reinforce the existing biases in current clinical practice.

Flash forward
While there were a few more education sessions about AI, flash therapy was also a popular buzzword at ASTRO this year.

The technology is still in the research and exploration phase, with Thomas Schmid of Klinikum Rechts der Isar in Munich, Germany, speaking about results from laser-accelerated proton irradiations during an education session.

Varian also promoted its ProBeam 360° proton therapy system — the company announced at the show that the small-footprint system was now available in a multi-room configuration — which it says provides customers with a pathway to flash therapy.

Working on workflow
Improving workflow continues to be a key part of new radiation therapy planning tools.

Philips continued to promote its IntelliSpace Radiation Oncology system that it unveiled in April at the European Society of Radiation & Oncology 2019 Annual Meeting in Milan, Italy.

The product is designed to integrate patient data from various sources into the planning software, which Ardie Ermers, general manager of radiation oncology at Philips, told HCB News would allow treatment to start earlier.

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