Professor Cesare Hassan has been awarded the “Advancing Artificial Intelligence in Gastroenterology” prize by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

The first edition of the prestigious award Advancing Artificial Intelligence in Gastroenterology by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE)     established in 2022 and supported by Medtronic, was awarded to Cesare Hassan    Associate Professor of Gastroenterology at Humanitas University. Professor Hassan was recognized by ASGE as one of the pioneers in the field of Artificial Intelligence studies in gastroenterology. The use of AI is aimed at improving patient care and increasing clinical practice outcomes and treatment efficacy through research, collaboration, and studies.

The award ceremony was held in San Diego, California, last 22nd May.

Colorectal cancer is the second most frequent neoplasm after breast cancer in Italy, but it is possible to prevent it thanks to Italy’s important screening program for men and women aged 50 to 74. The screening exam is non-invasive and consists of a laboratory test for occult blood in feces. If the result is positive, the person is contacted by a health care provider and invited to undergo a colonoscopy. Colonoscopies are the main type of examination to check the walls of the colon and are performed on an outpatient basis by an experienced healthcare provider.

“Today, research has made a big step forward and colonoscopy can take advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to increase the accuracy of the examination and detect even the most minute lesions,” explains Professor Caesar Hassan. In fact, as early as 30 years ago, colonoscopy was found to be an “operator-dependent” exam in which the variability of the result was related to who performed it. The reason is because polyps have a very fuzzy appearance and the human eye cannot always detect them, therefore reducing the effectiveness of prevention.” The most recent devices have been relying on graphically powerful interfaces which have proven to be extremely effective; the moment a polyp is identified, the device signals it with a sound and highlights it with the classic “square” like in smartphones. Today, there are 6 or 7 different AI-enabled colonoscopy devices available on the market.

“From the very beginning, Alessandro Repici    Professor of Gastroenterology at Humanitas University, and I participated in the design, study, and implementation of algorithms that could realise an AI interface and then we were involved in the validation of the devices,” Hassan explains. And once the machines were finalized, we conducted several clinical studies to evaluate the interaction between humans and the machine, focusing on how much we could benefit from using the technology to identify colorectal cancer.”

The results of the studies have been extremely positive,” Hassan informs, “a 50% reduction in error and a 30% improvement in identifying pre-cancerous lesions. These devices are extremely safe and have many advantages: they protect patients from human errors and have a very positive impact on health care costs. In fact, they can identify a possible polyp at such an early stage that it can be eliminated during the colonoscopy, with a positive impact on the person’s quality of life.

The AI Task Force established by ASGE aims to promote the use of Artificial Intelligence in clinical practice because of its enormous potential to improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis and thus therapeutic intervention.


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.