IBM's Watson to Help Diagnose Cancer

IBM's Watson to Help Treat Cancer : Discovery News

IBM's Watson computer -- the one that beat the best human players at Jeopardy! -- will now help doctors at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center diagnose cancer.

IBM News room - 2012-03-22 Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, IBM to Collaborate in Applying Watson Technology to Help Oncologists - United States

The initiative will combine the computational power of IBM Watson and its natural language processing ability with MSKCC’s clinical knowledge, existing molecular and genomic data and vast repository of cancer case histories, in order to create an outcome and evidence-based decision support system. The goal is to give oncologists located anywhere the ability to obtain detailed diagnostic and treatment options based on updated research that will help them decide how best to care for an individual patient.

MSKCC’s world-renowned oncologists will assist in developing IBM Watson to use a patient’s medical information and synthesize a vast array of continuously updated and vetted treatment guidelines, published research and insights gleaned from the deep experience of MSKCC clinicians to provide an individualized recommendation to physicians. The tool will also provide users with a detailed record of the data and evidence used to reach the recommendations.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, IBM to Collaborate in Applying Watson Technology to Help Oncologists | Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

“This comprehensive, evidence-based approach will profoundly enhance cancer care by accelerating the dissemination of practice-changing research at an unprecedented pace,” said Dr. Mark G. Kris, Chief, Thoracic Oncology Service at MSKCC and one of the clinicians leading the development effort. He noted that 85% of patients with cancer are not treated at specialized medical centers and it can take years for the latest developments in oncology to reach all practice settings.

Development work is already underway for the first applications, which include lung, breast and prostate cancers. The objective is to begin piloting the solutions to a select group of oncologists in late 2012, with wider distribution planned for late 2013. This collaboration complements an earlier announcement by IBM and WellPoint that the parties will focus on putting Watson to work on oncology solutions.