Memorial Sloan-Kettering, IBM partner on latest Watson technology project

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and IBM have agreed to work together to develop a clinical decision support tool using IBM Watson technology to help create individualized cancer diagnoses and treatment recommendations, the organizations announced.

The initiative will combine IBM Watson's computational and natural language processing abilities and MSKCC's clinical knowledge and data on cancer to give oncologists up-to-date information and treatment options. IBM Watson can sift through the equivalent of one million books or 200 million pages of data, analyze the information and provide a precise response in less than three seconds, according to IBM.

"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 MSKCC President and CEO Craig B. Thompson in an announcement.

This effort is not the first use of IBM Watson technology in the health care arena. In 2011 IBM announced a joint effort with Nuance, Columbia University Medical Center and the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine to apply Watson to complex patient cases.

IBM is also collaborating with Indianapolis-based health insurer WellPoint to use Watson technology for decision support. That project is under development at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute in Los Angeles with additional pilot sites to be named later.

MSKCC and IBM expect to pilot the first applications of the clinical decision support tool in late 2012.

To learn more:
- here's MSKCC's announcement
- read IBM's announcement

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