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Robotic scans that can detect bowel cancer people miss

Robotic scans that can detect bowel cancer people miss

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Robotic scans that can detect bowel cancer miss humans: Scientists hope integrating AI technology into existing colonoscopy equipment could help save more lives

Artificial intelligence may be more effective than the human eye at just spotting the early signs of the gut crab.

A new UK study is investigating whether adding AI technology – which uses computer algorithms to scan and read images – to standard colonoscopy exams improves the accuracy of those scans.

More than 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK each year and 16,000 die from it, making it the second most common cause of cancer death.

Colonoscopy is the “gold standard” for diagnosing the disease. This is where the colon is examined using a camera attached to a thin, flexible tube.

Artificial intelligence may be more effective than the human eye alone at spotting early signs of bowel cancer

The camera transmits live images of the inside of the bowel to a screen, allowing the clinician performing the procedure to check for precancerous polyps called adenomas – small growths that can be found on the wall of the bowel. Colon cancer is thought to develop from these polyps, and if found, they can be removed during the procedure.

However, although colonoscopies are extremely effective, three in every 100 examinations miss a cancer or polyp, which may be small, flat or hidden in the folds of the bowel, but which turns into cancer, according to the NHS.

Scientists hope that integrating AI technology (which not only reads the scans but also learns as it goes along) into existing colonoscopy equipment could help save more lives by increasing the accuracy of the 45-minute procedure, so more cancers to be caught at an early stage when they are easier to treat.

To try to locate these hard-to-detect abnormalities, US researchers have developed an AI box called GI Genius that connects to colonoscopy equipment and analyzes the video footage in real time.

Colonoscopy is the ¿gold standard¿ way to diagnose the disease.  This is where the colon is examined using a camera attached to a thin, flexible tube [File photo]

Colonoscopy is the “gold standard” for diagnosing the disease. This is where the colon is examined using a camera attached to a thin, flexible tube [File photo]

If it notices something unusual, the device creates a green box on the screen, pinpointing the exact part of the intestinal lining that needs closer inspection, and sounds an alarm. The doctor performing the scan will then decide whether to proceed with the examination.

The first UK trial to test the AI ​​device is midway through screening around 2,000 NHS patients.

Patients enrolled in the trial had either undergone a colonoscopy previously or had symptoms such as blood in their stools or significant changes in their bowel habits that they reported to their GP; or have taken part in the NHS Bowel Screening Program (a home testing kit sent to adults aged 60 to 74 in England and over 50 in Scotland).

Half of the trial participants will undergo a standard colonoscopy and the other half with an artificial intelligence device.

Nine hospitals across England are taking part in the Colo-Detect trial, mostly in the North East, with the trial being led by Newcastle University and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

The trial, funded by the US medical device company Medtronic, which designed the device, is due to end in April (researchers will assess both the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the technology).

Results from the first US trial of the device, published in the American Journal Gastroenterology last year, showed a 50% reduction in missed polyps when AI technology was used compared to standard colonoscopy.

Commenting on the new trial, Dr Duncan Gilbert, Consultant Clinical Oncologist in Lower Gastrointestinal Cancer at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Colorectal cancer remains a major public health challenge in the UK. Worryingly, it is becoming more common in younger patients.

“Colonoscopy screening to detect and remove polyps and early cancers has been shown to save lives and anything that improves the effectiveness of colonoscopy should be welcomed.

“Testing new technologies in properly conducted clinical trials like this is exactly what we need to do and is an example of how NHS clinical research is leading the world.”

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