Using the AI system, the scientists could identify polyps that had yet to develop into tumours as well as early stage cancer during a colonoscopy. They plan to start a clinical trial in fiscal 2019.
The system uses NEC’s AI-based face recognition technology, which can quickly identify abnormal conditions by examining images of the inside of the large intestine.
When abnormalities are found, the system will circle their location on a monitor and sound an alarm.
The researchers had the system analyse images relating to 5,000 cases and found that it could identify 98 percent of polyps and signs of early stage cancer.
The technology could even find a polyp 2 millimetres in diameter and one that was difficult to detect because its colour was similar to that of the surrounding mucous membrane.
According to Masayoshi Yamada, a doctor at the National Cancer Centre Hospital, an overseas report said physicians failed to notice 24 percent of polyps in 180 patients who underwent a colonoscopy.
“The results of a colonoscopy could change depending on the skill of doctors,” Yamada said. “I hope the system will help solve the issue of the skill difference.”
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