Professor Zhang Zhen, Director of the Radiation Therapy Center of Fudan University Hospital, makes radiotherapy plans for tumor patients

Doctor's Benevolence

Doctor's Benevolence

Professor Zhang Zhen , the director of Fudan University Cancer Hospital Radiotherapy Center,has been a doctor for more than 20 years and has handled the treatment of tens of thousands of cancer patients. But there is always an unfulfilled wish in her heart.

Spending time with patients, Prof. Zhang Zhen  found that the survival rate of patients has increased year by year with the development of precision radiotherapy. However, at the same time, the anxiety of patients waiting before treatment has increased over the years. Especially new radiotherapy patients are extremely prone to anxiety because their first treatment takes several days, not to mention that they are also running around in multiple unfamiliar sites.  "It is not easy for tumor patients to fight with the disease, and it is hard for me to see them physically and mentally exhausted, so I have always made up my mind that I must bring changes to patients' medical experience." Professor Zhang Zhen  said.

On the one hand, it is imperative to reduce the waiting time and optimize the patient's medical experience. On the other hand, Professor Zhang Zhen  faces many technical bottlenecks in radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is recognized as one of the best treatments for tumors in the world. It can precisely kill cancer cells by avoiding normal tissues, which requires tailor-made treatment for each patient, as well as close coordination of multi-site, multi-medical staff and multi-modal equipment. It also involves six processes: body fixation, simulated positioning, target area outlining, radiotherapy plan creation, plan quality control, image guidance and radiotherapy implementation, and each loop has to be extremely rigorous, which is bound to take a long time. "Is there a way to fundamentally optimize the process so that efficiency and precision can be achieved at the same time?"  Professor Zhang Zhen  has been seeking a solution over the years.

Break the Ice
In recent years, based on the gradual development of artificial intelligence in the field of precision radiotherapy, Professor Zhang Zhen and Dr Weigang Hu have led a team to continue exploring research in intelligent outlining and planning. At the end of 2019, the hospital introduced the world's first integrated CT-linac from UIH, with an integrated design of linear gas pedal and diagnostic-grade CT, which combines analogue positioning CT and radiotherapy into one. Patients do not have to run from site to site and can complete the entire radiotherapy process by lying on the treatment bed at once. In addition, artificial intelligence can accelerate the output of high-quality outline and planning results, which can shorten the original hours of outline and planning work to a few minutes, significantly improving the efficiency of radiotherapy. Director Zhang Zhen saw a turning point in this, "This is the perfect combination of research and development and product design, and if it is expected to fully integrate the two advantages into one workflow, that is the fundamental way to break the game." Therefore, Director Zhang Zhen took the lead in proposing All-In-One one-stop radiotherapy.

At 9:00 a.m. on March 2, 2021, the first clinical test of this idea was held: for the first time, physicians, physicists and technicians gathered in the control room to perform the first radiotherapy treatment for a rectal cancer patient using All-In-One one-stop radiotherapy technology.CT simulation positioning, intelligent outline and review modification, automatic planning, automatic reset, plan evaluation and review, CT image guidance, treatment and EPID real-time dose monitoring quality control were performed sequentially, and the whole process was completed in 23 minutes in one go, overturning the traditional first radiotherapy process that could only be completed in at least several days. This is a new tumor treatment model created by artificial intelligence technology, which has opened the era of intelligent tumor treatment 2.0.
The World's First Integrated CT-Linac
Intelligent Outlining Speed in Seconds
Small Changes in Target Area Can Be Applied to Clinical Applications
Automated Planning in 2 Minutes
No Changes Required to Meet Clinical Requirements
Professor Zhang Zhen, Director of the Radiation Therapy Center of Fudan University Hospital, and the physiotherapist exchange radiation therapy plans

Industry-Medical Integration

"This is an encouraging start, and our next step will be to explore the limits of the technology and continue to optimize it with a goal of 15 minutes for the first full radiotherapy process, while expanding the application for more diseases." Director Zhang Zhen  said, "The value of this technology is not only to shorten the time in the physical sense, it can truly make patients get a more relaxed radiotherapy experience and make them feel more cared for and respected through the close cooperation of doctors, physicists and technicians."