Image analysis project opens the way to personalised radiotherapy treatment
A research project funded by the Chief Scientist’s Office (Scotland) is to investigate the effectiveness of image analysis techniques in predicting side effects of radiotherapy treatment for patients with head and neck cancer.
The project, called IMAGE-INE, will apply image analysis to radiotherapy scans to assess a patients' likelihood of developing specific side effects. This would allow treatment plans to be adapted if the patient is judged to be at risk, introducing the potential for personalised medicine in radiotherapy.
EPCC will optimise image analysis software developed by researchers at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre, in Edinburgh's Western General hospital, ready to trial the technique with patient data being curated at the University of Cambridge using a state-of-the-art TomoTherapy HiArt scanner. The data will be analysed on EPCC's Cirrus high-performance computer system, which has the capacity to allow the analysis technique to be fine-tuned over the whole patient dataset.
Healthcare professionals do not currently known how, or when, to select patients for more personalised, or adaptive, radiotherapy (ART). By combining expertise in high performance computing and image analysis we will look for features that predict toxicity, to help identify patients for whom ART may improve their quality of life.
EPCC and the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering will work with NHS Lothian and University of Cambridge in the £260,000 project, which will run for two years from April 2018.
"By developing this clinical decision-support application on the previously treated patients – where there is high-quality, prospectively-gathered toxicity data – and validating our results in a larger study, we aim to improve outcomes for HNC patients in Scotland, the UK and beyond.” Dr Bill Nailon, project leader, School of Engineering