IBM’s Watson to compute clinical trials

Posted Sep 13, 2014 by Tim Sandle
IBM’s cognitive computer has a new task for its massive "brain". The computer will be individualizing trial plans for cancer patients at the Mayo Clinic.
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.
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Watson is already deployed to aid researchers and clinicians at several institutions. Now the “cognitive computer” is now, Fox News reports, helping oncologists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to review thousands of patient records to help sort individuals afflicted with cancer into appropriate clinical trials.
Commenting on this application, Steven Alberts, chair of medical oncology at Mayo Clinic, said in a research note: “In an area like cancer, where time is of the essence, the speed and accuracy that Watson offers will allow us to develop an individualized treatment plan more efficiently so we can deliver exactly the care that the patient needs."
Watson is an artificially intelligent computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language. Watson was developed in IBM's DeepQA project by a research team led by principal investigator David Ferrucci. Watson was named after IBM's first CEO and industrialist Thomas J. Watson. The computer is big and powerful: Watson has access to 200 million pages of structured and unstructured content consuming four terabytes of disk storage.
With the new initiative, Watson can potentially ease the burden on clinical trial coordinators by matching thousands of patients, each with a unique health history and suite of symptoms.