IBM & NY Genome Center Partners for Brain Cancer Treatment

By CIOReview | Thursday, March 20, 2014

NEW YORK: Tech giant IBM and New York Genome Center have decided to collaborate to study genetic data to speed up personalized, life-saving treatment for patients diagnosed with brain cancer. IBM's Watson cognitive computing system will be deployed to study genomic data from a small group of patients diagnosed with the most common malignancy recorded in the U.S. called glioblastoma.

The Watson super computer is equipped to study and evaluate genetics. Its design will now complement rapid genome sequencing and reduce time for gathering genomic data of a tumor variant to clinical analysis for timely decision making by both clinicians and patients.

Dr. Robert Darnell, New York Genome's President, CEO and Scientific Director says that after the doctors successfully identify tumor's genetic makeup, Watson's computing prowess can be used in determining the best treatment for a patient based on the tumor's mutations.

According to IBM, the system will be designed as a cloud-based prototype that combines modern genomic analytics and wide-ranging data bases of medical and biomedical literature with Watson’s cognitive computing power. This will assist clinicians uncover crucial data and come up with accurate diagnoses of individual genetic patterns of the disease. The system will "learn” continuously as new cases are reported and the data base can be used for further medical researches and studies. In future, this will assist medical experts consider treatment options suitable as per the individual specifications.

IBM will be also be seen capitalizing on the NYGC’s genomic and clinical expertise to continue the process of improvising Watson system. Hence, sharing the common objective of providing prompt care for all cancer patients based on the specific genetic characteristics.

"As genomic research progresses and information becomes more available, we aim to make the process of analysis much more practical and accessible through cloud-based, cognitive systems like Watson. With this knowledge, doctors will be able to attack cancer and other devastating diseases with treatments that are tailored to the patient’s and disease’s own DNA profiles. This is a major transformation that can help improve the lives of millions of patients around the world,” says Dr. John E. Kelly, Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research.