With over 18.1 millions cases worldwide in 2020, cancer research is one the most important areas of healthcare research. These include 9.3 million for men and 8.8 millions for women.

As the pandemic ends, societies around the world must reprioritize to ensure high-quality, equitable and equitable cancer treatment, diagnosis and care. The future of oncology will be marked by a tsunami of innovation. Some of the most urgent issues in the field are being addressed by emerging technologies.

The clinical landscape for cancer has changed over the past few years. It is now marked by higher survival rates, more complex disease courses, and symptomatology. The three crucial stages of cancer care (prevention and treatment as well as disease monitoring) are all aided by technology. This results in better patient outcomes.

The industry is experiencing a tsunami of innovation. Innovative technologies are accelerating the fight against cancer through advances in cell therapy, diagnostics like liquid biopsy, Car T Cell & ATOM, as well as developments in robotic surgery and artificial intelligence.

Technology in Prevention and diagnosis

The global cancer burden is rising, especially in low- and middle-income countries. These facts show that it is now time to plan for the future. To defeat cancer, it is essential to discover it early and treat it promptly. AI and data analytics are becoming more accepted in oncology diagnostics. Many new technologies have been developed recently to detect cancer.

Low-dose CT-enabled lung-cancer screening programmes, for example, can reduce mortality rates. A recent innovation in laparoscopic imaging is that surgeons can now see inside a patient’s body using HD resolution images. This technique allows for more precise diagnosis and treatment plans by allowing more light to penetrate into the veins, organs, or muscles.

Liquid biopsy is another innovation that allows for a minimally invasive method of monitoring tumor DNA and cells. This has made precision medicine even more accessible. This allows for early detection of cancer, even if a patient is not symptomatic at the time. It can also be used to personalise radiation doses for patients, by analysing electronic health records and imaging data.

Artificial intelligence can even be used to analyse large-scale cancer data and predict which malignancies are likely. These are just some of the many ways AI can revolutionize cancer care.

Technology has new ways of treating cancer patients

Biologics: In contrast to small molecules biologics opened up new possibilities in the 1990s. They offered more specificity and less frequent administration. New therapies will be available in the future, thanks to novel modalities such as improved antibody constructions, cell treatments and nucleic-acid therapy.

Immunotherapies are still a hot topic, especially when used in combination. CAR-T cell treatments have been shown to be effective in treating B cells malignancies like relapsed or refractory acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. These were previously difficult to treat. CAR-T therapies in the second and third generation are more advanced and include built-in “activation” and “kill” switches that increase specificity, safety and amplification.

Minimally Invasive surgery: Since the early 1900s minimally invasive surgical techniques have been the most significant advancement in the field of surgical technology. It was made possible by the invention of small video cameras that can reproduce good images. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy was the first procedure to be widely recognized. Several others have followed their lead. Robotic-assisted surgery is the most visible example of technology that can be used to treat cancer more precisely than traditional surgical procedures. This technology has enormous potential. Robotic-assisted surgery is a technology that allows patients to move around 360 degrees faster than the human hand. This development improves patient recovery, reduces infection, increases surgical precision and reduces hospital stay time. The ‘Da Vinci Surgical System Xi’ is the current most advanced minimally invasive surgical platform. This four-armed robotic surgical system is a technological breakthrough and an integral part of any comprehensive cancer treatment program. Today, more than 90% of all surgeries (including appendectomy and tubal ligation as well as gastric bypass, cholecystectomy and myomectomy) can be performed with minimally invasive techniques. This paradigm shift is due to the significant reduction in trauma to patients’ bodies that result from surgical incisions being minimized or eliminated.

Technology to enhance the real expertise

Radiologists, oncologists and surgeons all work together to treat cancer patients. High-quality training for healthcare professionals in advanced technologies will be a key part of achieving this goal.

Many organisations have developed telepresence technology to deliver training to doctors instead of making them travel. This virtual participation allows surgeons to learn from each other, regardless of their location, and will allow them to enhance their skills without having to sacrifice valuable time in the clinic.

Augmented reality and virtual reality can both be combined to enhance the experience, without having to practice/train on real patients.

Future cancer treatments are possible

Medical technology advances have the potential of saving lives, reducing costs, and simplifying the whole system. To predict how and where the field will develop, it is important to keep track of these developments. These technologies provide a glimpse into the future. Some of these technologies are already available. To reach the point where cancer diagnosis does not have to be a life-altering event that could lead to premature death, but instead can be treated and maintained as a chronic condition, we must keep pushing the boundaries.

By Manali