IBM has announced that its Watson supercomputer is to help the University of Texas in its battle to find a cure for cancer.
The system will be used by the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the university to help it churn through huge amounts of data as it searches for cures to some of the major strains of cancer, starting with Leukaemia.
IBM and MD Anderson have been working for a year to develop a new software platform on top of Watson called Oncology Expert AdvisorTM. This will allow staff to access data and interrogate information to help glean more insights from the information they have stored.
It will be hosted in the cloud so users of the system can access it from any device, including mobiles, to help ensure data can be accessed at any time.
Manoj Saxena, general manager for IBM Watson Solutions, said providing this platform would mean that data stored by the research centre could be turned to their advantage in the fight against cancer.
“By helping researchers and physicians understand the meaning behind each other's data, we can empower researchers with evidence to advance novel discoveries, while helping enable physicians to make the best treatment choices or place patients in the right clinical trials,” he said.
MD Anderson said it would also be using Watson within its ‘Moon Shot’ APOLLO programme to help it run novel experiments on the data it has stored so it can gain better insights into patient information against similar cases in its databases.
This should help doctors diagnose issues faster and deliver more tailored treatment schedules, Lynda Chin, scientific director of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science at MD Anderson, said.
”One unique aspect of the MD Anderson Oncology Expert Advisor is that it will not solely rely on established cancer care pathways to recommend appropriate treatment options.The system was built with the understanding that what we know today will not be enough for many patients," she said.
"Therefore, our cancer patients will be automatically matched to appropriate clinical trials by the Oncology Expert Advisor. Based on evidence as well as experiences, our physicians can offer our patients a better chance to battle their cancers by participating in clinical trials on novel therapies.”
The work with the University of Texas is not the first time IBM's Watson has been called in to help at medicial institutes, with other organisations seeking to take advantage of the supercompter's powers to find breakthroughs in the fight against cancer.
A video discussing the use of Watson at the MD Anderson Cancer Center is embedded below:
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