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Watson Fighting Cancer and Transforming Care

Posted Feb 08 2013 12:00pm
IBM and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center today unveiled the first commercially developed Watson-based cognitive computing breakthroughs. These innovations stand alone to help transform the quality and speed of care delivered to patients through individualized, evidence based medicine.

To date, Watson has ingested more than 600,000+ pieces of medical evidence, two million pages of text from 42 medical journals and clinical trials in the area of oncology research. Watson has the power to sift through 1.5 million patient records representing decades of cancer treatment history, such as medical records and patient outcomes, and provide to physicians evidence based treatment options all in a matter of seconds.

“It can take years for the latest developments in oncology to reach all practice settings. The combination of transformational technologies found in Watson with our cancer analytics and decision-making process has the potential to revolutionize the accessibility of information for the treatment of cancer in communities across the country and around the world,” said Craig B.Thompson, M.D., President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “Ultimately, we expect this comprehensive, evidence-based approach will profoundly enhance cancer care by accelerating the dissemination of practice-changing research at an unprecedented pace.”

In less than a year, Memorial Sloan-Kettering has immersed Watson in the complexities of cancer and the explosion of genetic research which has set the stage for changing care practices for many cancer patients with highly specialized treatments based on their personal genetic tumor type. They have published a case study on the project which describes how the cancer center’s oncologists are training Watson to compare a patient’s medical information against a vast array of treatment guidelines, published research and other insights to provide individualized, confidence-scored recommendations to physicians.

"IBM's work with WellPoint and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center represents a landmark collaboration in how technology and evidence based medicine can transform the way in which health care is practiced," said Manoj Saxena, IBM General Manager, Watson Solutions. "These breakthrough capabilities bring forward the first in a series of Watson-based technologies, which exemplifies the value of applying big data and analytics and cognitive computing to tackle the industries most pressing challenges."



The IBM Watson Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Adviser demo was created in close collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering, one of the world's preeminent cancer treatment and research institutions. The demo scenario follows the interactions of a hypothetical oncologist and patient as they move through consultations, tests, treatment options, patient preferences and pre-authorization. It showcases IBM Watson's capabilities in natural language processing, hypothesis generation and evaluation, and machine learning.

IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and WellPoint are introducing the first commercially based products based on Watson. These innovations represent a breakthrough in how medical professionals can apply advances in analytics and natural language processing to "big data," combined with the clinical knowledge base, including genomic data, in order to create evidence based decision support systems. These Watson-based systems are designed to assist doctors, researchers, medical centers, and insurance carriers, and ultimately enhance the quality and speed of care.

The new products include the Interactive Care Insights for Oncology, powered by Watson, in collaboration with IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and WellPoint. The WellPoint Interactive Care Guide and Interactive Care Reviewer, powered by Watson, designed for utilization management in collaboration with WellPoint and IBM.
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