Killing cancer with code: UAB radiation oncology team wins international competition

UAB competed against 13 international teams from academic institutions and commercial entities that participated in the competition.
Written by: Amy Richardson
Media contact: Brianna Hoge

1206044461881464.US8S4EEakZl77OzRjSmK height640Drs. Popple and Cardenas represented UAB in the last phase of the auto-planning competition in Turin, Italy.Medical physicists in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Radiation Oncology won first place in the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology’s 2023 fully automated radiotherapy treatment planning challenge.

Thirteen international teams from academic institutions and commercial entities participated in the competition, all tasked with leveraging artificial intelligence and software tools to fully automate radiotherapy treatment planning.

The UAB team, which called themselves “Killing Cancer with Code,” won first place in both phases of the competition, beating out competitors from other prestigious cancer centers around the world, including two from North America. Members of the team included Rex A. Cardan, Ph.D., Carlos E. Cardenas, Ph.D., Joseph Harms, Ph.D., Richard A. Popple, Ph.D., and Eric Simiele, Ph.D.

“The challenge came at a perfect time for our team” Popple said. “We were able to combine the software tools and infrastructure we have been developing over several years to build a one-click solution that generates high-quality radiotherapy treatment plans.”

Cardenas says the AI tools developed at UAB, which were demonstrated in this competition, will soon have a positive impact on cancer care in Alabama. “The positive impact of these tools will go well beyond cancer care in Birmingham,” Cardenas said.