radeon7990When we think of graphics processing units, or GPUs, we usually associate them with video games, or how they are used to help render graphics used in animation and whatnot. However it seems that apart from their use in video games, researchers have discovered that in some cases, GPUs are powerful enough to be used in the treatment of cancer.

This does not mean that the GPUs will be used directly to treat cancer, but rather due to their ability to crunch graphical data much faster, they can be used to analyze and create images of diseased tissues and tumors that have been captured via CAT scans. This is according to researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

According to Steve Jiang, who is the vice chairman of the department of Radiation Oncology at UT Southwestern, he states that creating such images using central processing units can take as long as 70 hours, while using the technology found in consumer-grade GPUs can significantly speed up the process.

“A tumor can shrink in response to radiotherapy and the organs can move. Since we can do the computation so fast [with GPUs], we can develop a new plan based on the current anatomy. We do this not just for fun, not just to publish papers, [but because] we do want to help our patients,”

says Jiang.

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