Fujitsu and University of Toronto develop quantum-inspired technology to optimize radiation treatment plans for brain tumors

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Fujitsu and University of Toronto develop quantum-inspired technology to optimize radiation treatment plans for brain tumors

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | February 26, 2021 Alzheimers/Neurology Rad Oncology
TOKYO, Feb 26, 2021 - (JCN Newswire) - Fujitsu Laboratories, Ltd. in collaboration with researchers at the University of Toronto (U of T ) today announced the development of a technology for dramatically streamlining the creation of radiation treat the Digital Annealer, which rapidly solves combinatorial optimization problems.

Gamma Knife radiation therapies are used to treat illnesses including brain tumors and arteriovenous malformations. The process of creating treatment plans using conventional methods is often laborious and time-consuming, and doctors must spend time making painstaking and detailed adjustments to determine how much radiation should be administered to a target while minimizing dose to surrounding tissue. With the newly developed technology, however, medical professionals can create treatment plans in roughly one minute, maintaining the same level of accuracy as conventional methods, while simultaneously calculating a huge number of possible combination patterns of where and how much dose to deliver with the Digital Annealer.

By easing the burden on medical professionals in creating fast and accurate treatment plans, the new technology frees them to devote more time and energy to ensuring patients receive the most effective and humane care possible. Going forward, Fujitsu Laboratories and U of T researchers will continue to test the effectiveness of this technology based on additional patient data, and ultimately develop technologies that actively contribute to improvement of medical science and society at large.

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Background

Gamma Knife surgery is used to treat brain tumors and other conditions because of its relative non-invasiveness and highly precise method of delivery of radiation. By using 192 different sources of gamma radiation aimed at different points, the dose to the affected area can be maximized while the dose to the surrounding healthy organs is kept very low. Parameters including position, shape, and dose of radiation must be considered to achieve optimal dosage to the affected area. However, the number of potential combination patterns is enormous, and in current medical practice, doctors generate treatment plans by manually repeating parameter adjustments based on their previous experience. This process can take about 1.5 to 3 hours to generate a plan that meets the patient's individual needs, placing a heavy burden on medical professionals.

While the physician is preparing the treatment plan, the patient may also need to wait, frequently with a frame fixed to their head to limit movement, which may cause some physical discomfort. It is also necessary to secure medical personnel to help to prepare patients for treatment and make sure the frame remains in place.

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