What is Artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human thinking and intelligence using machines which are trained to mimic the action of humans.
We have trained machines to be able to detect early cancer in the oesophagus (food pipe). We trained them with thousands of normal and abnormal oesophagus images so that it can then be able to reach its own decision with regards to whether there is something abnormal in the oesophagus.
Our research encompasses the development of artificial intelligence systems to help doctors to detect early oesophageal cancer during a camera procedure of the oesophagus (Endoscopy).
We have developed systems which can help physicians detect this disease early with a high accuracy. Doctors can then offer patients early curative treatments for their disease by removing the lesion from the oesophagus using new endoscopic techniques now available to us.
Oesophageal cancer is the 14th most common cancer in the UK affecting thousands of people every year. Despite advances in the pictures we have with a camera test some cancers can still be missed as they are very subtle. Artificial intelligence can potentially help revolutionise this field by improving our detection rates of this potentially deadly disease. Patients can then be cured of their disease at an early stage.
Figure 1 shows an area of cancer in the oesophagus and the computer system is able to accurately tell the physician where the abnormality is when they are performing an assessment of the food pipe.
We have also developed computer algorithms which are able to tell the endoscopist where to target tissue samples to be taken from the food pipe and also how much of the cancer tissue needs to be removed (Figure 2).
Following research developments we are now using this system called CADU in our endoscopy unit (Figure 3). It is the first device in the world of its kind and hopefully will bring about a massive change with the way we manage our patients with diseases of the food pipe.
Figure 3: The CADU system for the detection of early cancer of the oesophagus being used in real time in the endoscopy unit to help support the physician in detecting early cancer of the oesophgus and offer patients early treatment.
This recent article in the guardian discusses the use of this device to help support the treatment of patients:
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