NEWS | The ARCHERY study recruits its first participant

The ARCHERY study recruited its first participant on 27 December 2023The participant was recruited into the cervical cancer cohort at the University Malaya Medical Centre in Malaysia, the first site to be open to recruitment into the study. 

ARCHERY is a prospective observational study using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve radiotherapy planning to treat cancer.

The study plans to recruit 990 patients across six international hospitals in India, Jordan, Malaysia and South Africa. If this AI approach is shown to work to clinical standards, it will be offered as a free web service to public hospitals in low- and middle-income countries. This will allow healthcare providers to quickly adopt the software into daily clinical practice, improving access to and affordability of high-quality radiotherapy globally.  

Cervical, head and neck, and prostate cancer are common in low- and middle-income countries. The main treatment for these cancers is radiotherapy, which uses high doses of radiation to destroy the cancer cells within a specific area.  

However, less than half of the people living with cancer in low- and middle-income countries have access to radiotherapy treatment. The main barriers to access are the lack of equipment, the lack of skilled experts in the field and the inefficient radiotherapy planning pathway. The latter refers to how each patient’s treatment is planned individually to ensure they get the best possible care. This includes taking images, deciding where to direct the radiation and creating a treatment plan.  

The ARCHERY study aims to test a novel AI-based software to improve the radiotherapy planning pathway for cervical, head and neck, and prostate cancer in low- and middle-income countries. The AI-based software will automatise two tasks within the radiotherapy planning pathway:  

  1. Identify the areas that are at risk of cancer spread and at risk of radiation damage  
  2. Define the position, size and shape of the radiation beams to treat the cancer effectively.  

“This is an international, multi-centre collaboration aiming to harness artificial intelligence to deliver high-quality and affordable cancer care for countries with high unmet need, and for cancer types which have a debilitating impact on patients’ lives” said Dr Ajay Aggarwal, chief investigator of the ARCHERY study.  

The ARCHERY study is designed by the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL and led by Dr Ajay Aggarwal, a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Trust in London and an Associate Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 

This is an international collaboration with multiple partners including the MRC CTU at UCL, MD Anderson Cancer Centre, the UK Radiotherapy Trials Quality Assurance group (RTTQA), the Ghent University Hospital, Cape Town University, King Hussein Cancer Centre, Stellenbosch University, Tata Memorial Centre, Tata Memorial Hospital and University of Malaya (Malaysia).  

The study is sponsored by UCL and funded by the Rising Tide FoundationNational Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US and the UK's Medical Research Council. 

Further information:

Archery is funded by Rising Tide and NIH