Radiotherapy Grid for cancer treatment

European researchers are using cloud services and grid technology to help treat cancer patients more quickly.

A new cloud computing solution for radiology, developed by BEinGRID, a project funded by the European Commission, uses a grid to enable hospitals to plan the best possible treatment for each patient.

The RadiotherapyGrid provides two core functions: verification of plans using accurate, but traditionally expensive computing techniques; and searching for the optimal treatments based on the patients scans.

The tools improve the efficiency and effectiveness of treatment planning as well as reducing the its overall cost by exploiting the resources found on the grid.

The computer grid provides resources such as processors, storage, networking and software to users regardless of where they are or what platform they are using.

This means the grid also reduces the need for treatment facilities to invest in expensive hardware required to do the calculations in-house, resulting in substantial cost savings.

Andres Gomez, a BEinGRID Business Experiment manager from CESGA, one of BEinGRID’s partners, said: “The system can also be extended and adapted to use new algorithms when new techniques and protocols are developed.”

The developments follow a four year European Commission funded project on grid computing that finished at the end of 2009. The project was funded by from the ICT strand of the Sixth Framework Programme for Research.

Those involved in the BEinGRID project are now looking to exploit the service commercially. Initially it will be marketed as a “software-as-a-service” platform in hospitals but eventually it may come with hardware.

In addition, the project is looking at how the RadiotherapyGrid could be applied o other treatments such as hadronatherapy and brachiatherapy.