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article imageMachine learning assists with healthcare cancer screening

By Tim Sandle     Jul 13, 2017 in Health
IBM’s supercomputer Watson, which is capable of complex artificial intelligence, has made progress in the scanning and detection of cancer. This development is set to aid the healthcare community and its an example of the digitization of healthcare.
At present Watson has been deployed as part of a proof-of-concept study within the field of genomic sequencing of cancerous material. This has involved a variant of the supercomputer called Watson for Genomics.
Watson is a question answering computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language. The supercomputer was developed in IBM's DeepQA project. The artificial intelligence system was originally developed to answer questions on the quiz show Jeopardy!; after this it began to be used for other functions, with a primary focus with healthcare.
Watson has a powerful database, running into in excess of 200 million pages of structured and unstructured content, totaling four terabytes of disk storage. With the healthcare applications, Watson was first used for helping clinicians with management decisions for lung cancer treatment. This followed a successful trial undertaken at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City.
Watson has had an impressive career so far and IBM has more plans for it.
Watson has had an impressive career so far and IBM has more plans for it.
Atomic Taco
Watson for Genomics is an analytic tool that functions to locate relevant information relating to potential targeted therapeutic options. Watson for Genomics will aid medical staff in analyzing a patient’s tumor's genomic data and then use this analysis to provide information on potential therapeutic options.
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To test out the feasibility of Watson further aiding the digital transformation of healthcare, a new study has been conducted. The study was performed by researchers working at the New York Genome Center at The Rockefeller University. The study involved comparing Watson for Genomics against traditional genome sequencing techniques, looking at how well Watson performed in its ability to derive treatment options from the genomic data. This related to samples of glioblastoma patient cells. Glioblastoma is the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain.
IBM booth at China International Software Product & Information Service Expo.
IBM booth at China International Software Product & Information Service Expo.
China Daily China Daily Information Corp - CDIC / Reuters
The trial was declared successful, with Watson for Genomics fully able to provide whole genome sequencing data from the tumour cells within 10 minutes. The traditional method, used as a comparator, takes 160 hours.
The success has led to IBM entering into partnership with Illumina to use the gene sequencing data to improve Watson’s cancer treatment decisions. A similar project is taking place at the Jupiter Medical Center in Florida. These projects not only show the benefits of the digitalization of healthcare they also fit neatly with Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot 2020 initiative, which targets cancer cases in U.S. veterans. In addition, in June 2017 it was announced that the Baheal Pharmaceutical Group will bring Watson for Genomics to clinicians across China.
More about Ibm, ibm watson, Cancer, cancer moonshot, Health
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