Newswise — CLEVELAND - University Hospitals (UH) Cleveland Medical Center, which is the first hospital in Ohio to have a fully integrated artificial intelligence (AI) endoscopy unit, will receive additional donated units to support colorectal screening in medically underserved communities.

Since March at its main campus, UH has been using a GI GeniusTM intelligent endoscopy module, a computer unit employing AI to help physicians detect polyps during colonoscopies.  The module has an exponentially higher rate of detecting polyps. If undetected and untreated, polyps could potentially lead to colorectal cancer.

This fall, UH will receive additional modules as part of an award through the Medtronic Health Equity Assistance Program for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening.

This program, sponsored by Medtronic and Amazon Web Services, donates AI-assisted colonoscopy technology to facilities providing for medically underserved communities with either low CRC screening rates or where access to this cutting-edge technology is not currently available. UH is one of 62 facilities in the United States to receive the donated GI Genius™ intelligent endoscopy modules from a very competitive grant application process.

“This AI module directly impacts our ability to improve colon cancer screening and prevention and offers a technology that will likely reduce health care disparities in our community,” said Gerard Isenberg, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Quality Officer for the UH Digestive Health Institute. “Studies have shown that AI-assisted colonoscopy can increase polyp detection rates, and every 1 percent increase in adenoma detection rate reduces the risk of interval colorectal cancer by 3 percent. There is currently no other technology that accomplishes that rate of success.”

Certain types of colorectal cancer, when caught early, can have a survival rate (five year) of up to 91 percent. However, it remains the third most common and second deadliest cancer among adults in the U.S. In Northeast Ohio, based on data from the Ohio Cancer Incidence Surveillance System, the mortality rate from colorectal cancer is higher here compared to the U.S. nationally. Part of this higher incidence is the lower rate of screening in NE Ohio communities.

The same database shows that early onset colorectal cancer (below age 50) is actually increasing in NE Ohio. “This statistic is worrisome, and shows why we need to start screening at age 45 in people with no risk factors as now recommended by several national organizations, and even earlier in those people with risk factors,” said Dr. Isenberg.

“In addition, African-Americans are disproportionately affected compared to other races. The five-year survival for colorectal cancer is lower in this racial group. By finding and removing a polyp, we can prevent a cancer from forming. This AI technology helps us to reduce the variability in finding these pre-cancerous polyps, and make an impact on improving the health of our patients.”

“Getting colorectal cancer is often terrible news,” said Dr. Isenberg. “We look forward to helping our community by providing access to a tool that will help detect lesions before they become cancers and hopefully prevent more cases.”

All of the new units will be placed at UH Cleveland Medical Center in each of its general endoscopy rooms. Another unit will be moved to UH Ahuja Medical Center. Eventually, UH plans on having 20 of these modules throughout its system.

GI GeniusTM module uses advanced AI software to highlight suspicious polyps with a visual marker in real time, serving as the gastroenterologist’s ever-vigilant second observer with a sensitivity rate per lesion of 99.7 percent.

GI Genius™ module, authorized by the FDA in April 2021, is the first-to-market, computer-aided polyp detection system powered by AI to detect colorectal polyps of varying shapes and sizes automatically in real time. In the first U.S. trial using GI Genius™, results published this spring showed nearly a 50 percent reduction in missed colorectal polyps with AI technology versus standard colonoscopy.