Project POLAR is a collaboration between Amsterdam Medical Center, Medical Center Leeuwarden and ZiuZ Visual Intelligence. The goal of this project is to create a product that can advise doctors during a colon exam on whether a polyp is benign or malignant. POLAR stands for POLyp Artificial Recognition.
Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, approximately 14,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer every year. In 2014, population screening was conducted to catch colon cancer at an early stage and thus reduce colon cancer-related deaths. People with a positive stool test are advised to undergo a colon exam to determine whether there are any benign and/or malignant polyps. During the exam, the doctor examines and removes the polyp. It is then sent away to be tested. After one or two weeks, the patient receives the results and a follow-up appointment is scheduled if necessary. With POLAR, the doctor can immediately see whether a polyp is benign or malignant during the colon exam. If the polyp is benign, the doctor can leave it and continue with the exam, reducing the risks for the patient and saving time for the doctor. If the polyp is malignant, the doctor can remove it immediately and have it tested in the lab. In all cases, the patient will not have to wait long without knowing the situation, because they are told whether the polyp is benign or malignant right away. To develop POLAR, ZiuZ uses artificial intelligence and pattern recognition.
POLAR is partially financed by subsidies from the European Union: European Regional Development Fund (via SNN) and the Province of Friesland.