The future of AI assisted cancer surgery

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming an indispensable tool in healthcare, improving diagnostics, treatment planning, and patient outcomes. As AI systems handle sensitive health data and make critical decisions, ethical considerations, including patient privacy, data security, and the transparency of AI decision-making processes, are paramount.

The CLASSICA project, is at the forefront of integrating AI with medical technology to tackle colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer type worldwide. CLASSICA transforms a research prototype into a vital tool for surgeons, utilizing tissue fluorescence dynamics to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous tissues effectively.

The technology leverages the differential fluorescence intensity of tissues when exposed to indocyanine green (ICG), a fluorescent dye, and excited by near-infrared (NIR) light. This method captures and analyses the intensity curves from video frames, allowing for real-time AI-based classification of tissues during colorectal cancer surgery.

By providing surgeons with immediate insights into tissue status, CLASSICA significantly enhances the precision of tumour removal and minimizes the risk of leaving cancerous tissue behind. This not only improves surgical outcomes but also reduces the need for repeat procedures.

We aim to expand CLASSICA’s impact by initiating its deployment in five leading cancer surgery centres across Europe. This includes countries like Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Italy, and the Netherlands, enhancing our platform’s reach and utility in critical clinical decision-making for cancer surgery. We’re embarking on a comprehensive multi-country study involving 500 patients to assess the platform’s effectiveness in improving clinical outcomes. The insights gained from our clinical study will be instrumental in developing new clinical guidelines, fostering CLASSICA’s integration into healthcare systems, and establishing a strong foundation for AI-supported surgical operations. Moreover, we are committed to developing comprehensive training materials for surgeons, facilitating CLASSICA’s widespread adoption across European hospitals and clinics.

AI holds the promise of transforming healthcare by enabling more accurate diagnoses, personalized treatments, and ultimately, improving the quality of life for patients worldwide. Projects like CLASSICA demonstrate the potential of AI to make significant advances in the fight against cancer, marking a step forward in our journey towards a healthier future for humanity.

The CLASSICA project has received funding from the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101057321.

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