Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City leverages artificial intelligence in GI screening

Innovative AI detection technology projected to decrease the risk of colon cancer deaths by up to 50%

Dr. Michael Wallace

Dr. Michael Wallace

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: The gastroenterology team at Abu Dhabi-based Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), one of the UAE’s largest hospitals for serious and complex care and a joint-venture partnership between Mayo Clinic and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), has introduced a cutting-edge AI system for gastrointestinal intestinal endoscopy that significantly enhances the detection of pre-cancerous polyps of the colon. 

This FDA and UAE-approved system, known as GI Genius, is an AI solution designed to assist in colonoscopy procedures, and will be available at SSMC’s Gastroenterology Division, led by Dr. Michael Wallace. During his role as Professor of Medicine and Director of Procedural Innovation at Mayo Clinic, U.S., Dr. Wallace utilized the technology for two years during its trial in Europe and was also the principal investigator in a US randomized controlled study with the FDA. 

Dr. Michael Wallace, Consultant and Chair of Gastroenterology Division at SSMC said, “Our controlled trials showed that this technology significantly increases our ability to find precancerous polys of the colon, allowing us to remove those polyps and prevent them from becoming malignant. During trials, we showed one of the highest increases in polyp detections of any technology that is geared towards detection, and we are now lucky enough to have brought the now approved system to our facility for patients to benefit from our long-held expertise and experience in using the technology.”

While the technology is similar to augmented reality, it is steered and operated by a doctor who drives the endoscope and removes the polyps, using the AI technology as a supplemental, augmented visual cue to identify pre-cancerous polyps, some of which are very difficult to see. A certain type of polyp, known as a flat polyp, is very subtle and easily missed, which is why an augmented AI system can offer substantial aid in flagging their presence during colonoscopy procedures. Doctors driving the endoscope will view the procedure on an augmented video screen.

“This technology has shown exceptional results in terms of efficacy as well,” continues Dr. Wallace. “The most important measure of efficacy for endoscopies is how well the technology increases the adenoma detection rate, which denotes the rate at which we detect pre-cancerous polyps in the colon. The more adenomas (polyps) you find and remove, the more you prevent colon cancer.”

Typical medical examinations show these sites of pre-cancerous growth in about 30 to 40% of individuals. The AI technology increases that to approximately 50% to 55% of individuals, significantly increasing the adenoma detection rate. This is toted as a good benchmark, as for every 1% increase in the adenoma detection rate, the risk of getting colon cancer is reduced by 3%, and the risk of death from colon cancer is reduced by 5%. With a 15% increase that translates into a 10% decrease in adenoma detection, this will result in a 30% decrease in the risk of colorectal cancer, and a 50% decrease in the risk of death from colon cancer.

“The scope and potential for AI is quite significant, with the potential to use these technologies for many applications. While it is currently approved as a supplementary tool, I do believe that the uses of AI broadly can potentially be very substantial, and it is important for the world to note that we use AI in a way that is constructive and safe,” concludes Dr. Wallace.


About Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC)

Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), the UAE’s largest healthcare network, and Mayo Clinic, a non-profit global leader in medical care, education and research headquartered in the United States of America. Established in 2019, SSMC is the largest tertiary hospital in the UAE and serves to elevate the provision of healthcare services in the nation under the mandate of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.

Supported by the latest diagnostic and treatment modalities available, SSMC offers care in 24 specialties. A team of locally and internationally trained physicians and allied health staff work seamlessly together, which promotes comprehensive interdisciplinary learning, allowing SSMC to become a leading hub for integrated patient-centric medical services in the region.

As the region’s leading tertiary facility, SSMC has 742 patient beds, 18 operating theatres and includes a hybrid operating room, 26 neonatal intensive care units and the UAE’s largest pathology lab.

For more information on Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City or to book an appointment, visit  

About SEHA

The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC–SEHA – is an independent, public joint stock company created to develop the curative activities of the public healthcare system in Abu Dhabi. The company owns and operates all the public hospitals and clinics of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

SEHA is part of ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies with a broad portfolio of major enterprises spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s diversified economy.

SEHA is committed to continuous improvement of customer care to recognized international standards and providing the community with world-class healthcare. SEHA operates 13 hospitals with 3,385 beds, 70 ambulatory care, family care and urgent care centers and 2 blood banks. Its facilities accommodate 117,162 inpatients annually and conduct 43,262 surgeries, as well as treating more than five million outpatients. SEHA is one of the largest integrated healthcare providers in the Middle East with more than 18,000 doctors, nurses, ancillary care, and administrative personnel. Learn more at

About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to everyone who needs healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for additional Mayo Clinic news and Mayo Clinic Facts for more information about Mayo

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