IBM platform to personalize cancer treatments

A new decision support tool from IBM has the potential to personalize treatments for patients suffering from cancer, hypertension and AIDS, the company announced this week.

The tool essentially takes patient data and runs it against de-identified data compiled from similar cases to create a treatment plan. It also would provide hospital administrators with a report on aggregated patient care, according to a ZDNet article. Researchers are optimistic that increased efficiency will improve care and lower costs.

"The solution is designed to provide physicians with recommendations that go beyond the results of clinical trials," Haim Nelken, senior manager of integration technologies at IBM Research's lab in Haifa, Israel, said in a statement. "It may allow them to go deeper into the data and more accurately follow the reasoning that led to choices previously made on the basis of subjective memory, intuition or clinical trial results."

IBM's announcement is the latest in a wave of recent genomics news.

The Greenville (S.C.) Hospital System's University Medical Center announced earlier this month plans to test a gene sequencer that will help determine the genetic makeup of a patient's cancer to inform treatment decitions. The technology would allow for a full analysis in roughly a day's time and would cost $1,000.

And just this week, UnitedHealth Group published a new report predicting that spending on genomic tests would reach $25 billion by 2021. According to the report, 60 percent of doctors already are worried the cost of tests will rise.

To learn more:
- here's the IBM announcement
- read this ZDNet article

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