Watson takes on drug-resistant cancer, drug safety

IBM Watson

IBM continues to pursue healthcare applications for Watson as it attempts to further commercialize its hefty investment in the artificial intelligence technology.

The company has teamed up with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard on a five-year, $50 million research project to determine why some cancers are drug-resistant from the start and others are able to mutate to thwart treatment.

And it plans to collaborate with organizations such as Partners HealthCare hospitals in Massachusetts and possibly Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York to recruit patients to donate 10,000 tumor samples before and after treatment for data that can be parsed and analyzed by Watson, according to Boston Business Journal.

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The key will be learning from clinical experience “so that we know cancer’s moves in advance and can plan strategies to cut off its escape routes,” Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute, told Healthcare IT News.

IBM previously announced a collaboration with Quest Diagnostics, Sloan Kettering and the Broad Institute to combine cognitive computing with genomic tumor sequencing as a cloud service available to doctors and patients across the country.

It’s also pairing with biopharmaceutical company Celgene to create IBM Watson for Patient Safety, aimed at enhancing high-volume methods for collecting, assessing, monitoring and reporting adverse drug reactions, according to WallStreet24.

Using anonymized electronic medical records, medical claims databases and other healthcare information sources, the goal of the project is to create an evidence-based drug safety decision support system to help life science companies better understand complex interactions and build better safety profiles for various drugs, the article reports. 

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