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IBM and Cleveland Clinic Use Watson to Advance Genomic Research for Cancer Care Pilot

October 29, 2014
by John DeGaspari
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The goal of the initiative is to help researchers develop personalized cancer care for a greater number of patients

IBM today announced an initiative to accelerate the adoption of genomic based medicine at Cleveland Clinic. Researchers at Cleveland Clinic will use IBM Watson technology in the area of genomic research to help oncologists deliver personalized medicine by uncovering new cancer treatment options for patients.

The Lerner Research Institute's Genomic Medicine Institute at Cleveland Clinic plans to evaluate Watson's ability to help oncologists develop more personalized care to patients for a variety of cancers. According to the announcement, clinicians lack the tools and time required to bring DNA-based treatment options to their patients and to do so, they must correlate data from genome sequencing to reams of medical journals, new studies and clinical records. At a time when medical information is doubling every five years, a faster option is needed.

This use of Watson aims to find the “needle in the haystack” through identifying patterns in genome sequencing and medical data to unlock insights that will help clinicians bring the promise of genomic medicine to their patients. 

The use of Watson in genomic research draws on a combination of Watson's cognitive services, deep computational biology models and IBM's public cloud infrastructure SoftLayer. Watson can continually “learn” as it encounters new patient scenarios, and as more information becomes available through new medical research, journal articles and clinical studies. Given the depth and speed of Watson's ability to review massive databases, the goal of the collaboration is to increase the number of patients who have access to care options tailored to their disease's DNA.



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