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NEC's artificial intelligence (AI) supports doctors to determine if colorectal lesions are potentially neoplastic

- CE marking-compliant software; soon available in Europe -

Tokyo, July 14, 2021 - NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) announced today the development of an AI technology for supporting doctors in determining if colorectal lesions are neoplastic or non-neoplastic. NEC developed a new technology, called “Cx20," while seeking to assist in the early detection of colorectal lesions. Cx20 has already met the requirements for CE marking, a European safety, health and environmental protection standard, and will be integrated in the medical device AI diagnostic support software "WISE VISION® Endoscopy" (*1), with sales expected to start in Europe later this year.

This software connects and interacts with existing endoscopic equipment and automatically notifies users if a lesion is possibly neoplastic based on images captured during endoscopy procedures. The software then becomes an extra tool immediately available to assist endoscopists in the differentiation of lesions and reduces the burden on patients.

Colorectal cancer originates from precancerous lesions (colorectal neoplastic polyps) and it is possible to suppress its progression by detecting and removing lesions at an early stage during endoscopy procedures. It is, however, sometimes difficult for endoscopists to visually distinguish between neoplastic and non-neoplastic lesions during endoscopy examinations, resulting in unnecessary biopsies and removal of non-neoplastic lesions, thereby causing additional stress and discomfort to patients. Colorectal cancer is said to be the second-largest cancer (*2) in the European region, and the latest version of WISE VISION® Endoscopy, which launches first in Europe, promises to help doctors address this challenging issue.

To improve the chances of identifying if colorectal lesions are possibly neoplastic, and so to help endoscopists in their decision process, NEC developed a new technology where the learning power of AI is used to combine information of endoscopy images and data from the findings of expert physicians. Specifically, the technology analyzes still images of lesions taken with endoscopy devices, and if the AI determines that a colorectal lesion is likely to be neoplastic a "High possibility" notification message is displayed.

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The Cx20 function supports the identification of disease
During examinations, suspected lesions are automatically detected through video taken by endoscope devices. Doctors then extract still images (left) and analysis results are soon displayed (right)

NEC and the National Cancer Center Japan have been collaborating since 2016 to develop a technology that automatically detects suspected colorectal lesions during endoscopy examinations. NEC began sales of software incorporating this technology in January of this year (*3). With the addition of this function in Europe, WISE VISION® Endoscopy aims to help reduce the burden on doctors and patients by providing additional and immediately beneficial support during the examination process. In developing this solution NEC applied its face recognition technology, belonging to its portfolio of cutting edge AI based technologies (labelled “NEC the WISE"), which has been highly evaluated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States (*4).

In the future, NEC will further promote joint research with the National Cancer Center Japan to further enhance the performance of its AI technology and to assist endoscopists with its usage.

About WISE VISION® Endoscopy
This software can be connected to endoscopes from leading endoscope manufacturers (*5). By simply connecting an existing endoscope to a monitor and terminal equipped with the software, users can start using it immediately. The system issues sound notifications when a candidate lesion has been located, and the type and volume of the notification can be customized at any time according to user preferences. Moreover, a highly visible user interface allows intuitive operation, enabling endoscopists to smoothly proceed with examinations.

Going forward, NEC aims to accelerate digital transformation in the medical field by providing safe and secure products and services, including AI, to promote a healthy, and sustainable society, where individuals can thrive from the utilization of advanced IT technologies.

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Notes:
  • (*1)
    "WISE VISION" is a registered trademark of NEC Corporation in the United States of America, the European Union and the United Kingdom.
  • (*2)
    According to United European Gastroenterology
    new windowhttps://ueg.eu/p/78#
  • (*3)
    NEC releases "WISE VISION Endoscopy" in Europe and Japan
    https://www.nec.com/en/press/202101/global_20210112_01.html
    Yamada M, Saito Y, Imaoka H, et al. Development of a real-time endoscopic image diagnosis support system using deep learning technology in colonoscopy. Sci Rep. 2019;9:14465. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-50567-5. PMID: 31594962
  • (*4)
    NEC Face Recognition Technology Ranks First in NIST Accuracy Testing
    https://www.nec.com/en/press/201910/global_20191003_01.html
  • (*5)
    Connectivity and operations have been confirmed with the following endoscopes.
    • Olympus EVIS LUCERA ELITE Video System Center CV-290
    • FUJIFILM ELUXEO video processor VP-7000
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