Automated detection of early oesophageal cancer.
Top Sector Life Sciences & Health aim to enable technologies & infrastructure thrive to contribute to improved future health care. The collaboration project was financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands by means of the PPP Allowance made available by the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health to stimulate public-private partnerships. The Amsterdam University Medical Center, Catharina Hospital Eindhoven, Technical University of Eindhoven, and NinePoint Medical worked together to develop a novel imaging tool for enhanced diagnosis of esophageal cancer.
Barrett’s esophagus (BE) is a known precursor for esophageal cancer, and patients have a 30- to 60-fold increase of developing esophageal cancer. Early diagnosis leads to a high survival rate, in contrast to late detection with a 5-10% survival rate in five years. However, early cancer is difficult to detect endoscopically due to its subtle appearance. Volumetric laser endomicroscopy was studied to enable improved detection of early cancer in patients with BE.
Application of artificial intelligence in volumetric laser endomicroscopy was shown to improve detection of early esophageal cancer. Next, it was shown to outperform human assessors in the diagnosis of early cancer. Finally, the VLE computer algorithm will have to be studied during live clinical procedures to test the diagnostic performance real-time.
This project with a ‘public-private partnership’ has contributed to enable improved diagnosis of early esophageal cancer, which may allow for earlier treatment and possible improved patient survival rates.