NEC releases new AI diagnosis-support medical device software for colonoscopies

Japanese multinational IT and electronics company NEC recently announced the development of its WISE VISION Endoscopy, an AI diagnosis-support medical device software for colonoscopies, which was just released in Japan and is expected to soon be available in Europe. The software connects with existing endoscopy equipment as part of using AI to automatically mark potential lesions from images taken during endoscopic procedures.

WHY IT MATTERS 

According to NEC’s official release, colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in Japan and the second most common in Europe. Colorectal cancer originates from precancerous lesions (colorectal neoplastic polyps) and it is possible to suppress the progression to cancer by detecting and removing lesions at the polyp stage during endoscopy procedures.

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However, polyps need to be found with the eye of an endoscopist, and are often difficult to detect because of their size and shape, causing approximately 24% (according to a journal article by Gastroenterology) to be missed, thereby delaying detection.

NEC has been working with the National Cancer Center Japan since 2016 to contribute to resolving this issue. NEC has now developed software that can automatically mark potential lesions based on the use of AI to learn from endoscopic images of more than 10,000 lesions, as well as learning from the observations of expert physicians.

Some of the software’s features include compatibility with endoscopy systems by three manufacturers – Olympus (EVIS LUCERA ELITE Video System Center CV-290), FUJIFILM (ELUXEO video processor VP-7000) and PENTAX (Medical OPTIVISTA EPK-i7010 video processor). It also marks the lesion candidates with a notification sound and marking. Notification sounds, volume, and marker colors can be customized at any time to the user’s preference.

THE LARGER TREND

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, working alongside investigators Sichuan Academy of Medical Sciences and Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital in China, have found success applying machine learning to detect adenomatous polyps during colonoscopy, according to a 2018 Healthcare IT News article.

The findings, announced by Chinese artificial intelligence vendor Shanghai Wision AI Co., whose algorithms were applied to the imaging, could one day allow for “self-driving” in colonoscopy procedures, the company said.

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