The SoRTS project aims to increase productivity and effectiveness in cancer treatment and reduce patient risk by supporting healthcare professionals in the transition from invasive, open surgery to minimally invasive, image guided intervention and treatment (IGIT). Such oncological treatments range from ablations (such as radio frequency, high intensity focused ultrasound, laser) to radiotherapy treatments (such as brachytherapy, external beam therapy). Improved productivity and effectiveness in healthcare enabled by IGIT is expected to significantly lower healthcare costs due to shorter hospital stay and higher throughput. One of today’s main IT challenges for IGIT, tackled in SoRTS, is the availability of coupled real-time feedback of the imaging and therapy systems during interventions.
The goal of the SoRTS project is to develop a System of Real-Time Systems (i.e. imaging and therapy systems), which enable more automated combination (“more than human interaction”) of imaging and therapy and motion compensation for the target tumor tissue via a guaranteed latency of the image and control data between these systems.
- The imaging and therapy-delivery systems comprise of multiple real-time control systems, hosted on separate computers. SoRTS will develop a Real-time Therapeutic Procedure Supervisor (RTPS) to provide the required architecture for adaptive real-time image guided therapies. The RTPS allows real-time communication and supports heterogeneous algorithms, deployed on heterogeneous high-performance computing hardware including visualization chains.
- SoRTS will apply a distributed architecture with network interfaces for the exchange of information. Such a loosely coupled architecture will safeguard the integrity of the system components such as the imaging system and the therapy system.
- A more intimate integration into a many-core hardware platform allows the exchange of more data, including real-time reconstructed 3D images. Novel techniques such as real-time hypervisors will be used to combine the existing real-time systems into a single platform, meanwhile safeguarding the internal integrity of the components.
SoRTS bring together Dutch, Swedish and Finnish partners in the value chain for state-of-the-art IGIT:
- Imaging systems suitable for image guided interventions like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are highly advanced and developed with real-time feedback by Philips Healthcare NL.
- Therapy systems, like brachytherapy, linear accelerator (Linac) and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) are able to destroy malign tissue via a minimal or non-invasive method. Partners Nucletron, Elekta, Philips Finland and UMCU provide such systems.
- Clinical procedures have to be developed and optimized to determine most effective and efficient usage of automated image guided interventional systems. UMC Utrecht will perform validation of such procedures in several radiotherapy applications.
- Systems integration; a Real-time Therapeutic Procedure Supervisor will integrate image controlled therapy by independent systems, allowing the deployment of specific algorithms developed according to needs of any partner in the chain, without the need to upgrade/replace individual systems. The RTPS provides an architecture that deals with heterogeneity in algorithms, software technologies and platforms, with special attention to safety. All of the SoRTS partners in Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands are involved in these activities.
SoRTS will provide the technology basis for more automated image guided therapy products. This will enlarge the customer base for both imaging and therapy systems. Furthermore the market will be extended to new applications, because the RTPS developed in SoRTS will enable treatment of tumours in mobile organs. Safeguarding component integrity while being integrated on many-core computers is not only relevant for all kind of medical applications, but for every real-time image guided feedback systems, such as found in security and nano-technology applications.