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January 10, 2017

IBM, Illumina partner to crunch genomic data & treat cancer

Data interpretation from Watson will help users translate genomic data from Illumina TruSight Tumor 170.

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Watson Health has partnered with Illumina, a company which offers genome data sequencing tools, to standardise and simplify genomic data interpretation.

Under the partnership, Watson for Genomics will be integrated into Illumina’s BaseSpace Sequence Hub and tumor sequencing process.

Specifically, Watson Genomics will be available to interpret data produced by Illumina’s TruSight Tumor 170, which is a solid tumor profiling panel designed to identify variants across 170 genes.

Watson for Genomics, which ingests data from about 10,000 scientific articles and 100 clinical trials a month, will read files from TruSight Tumor 170 and provide each genetic alteration with professional guidelines, medical literature, clinical trials and other data to create a report for researchers.

Typically, the process consumes more than a week to finish.

The offering will be available early in 2017. IBM and Illumina are planning to keep up with advances in genome sequencing that have been limited by the time and expense interpreting the data.

IBM Watson Health general manager Deborah DiSanzo said: “This partnership lays the groundwork for more systematic study of the impact of genomics in oncology.

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“Together we are poised to help researchers realize the potential of precision oncology by expanding access to valuable genome sequencing from Illumina and reliable, standardized genomic interpretation from Watson.”

Illumina president and CEO Francis deSouza said: “To enable precision cancer medicine on a large scale, we need new tools to overcome the data barriers of genomic research.

“With a comprehensive assay of Illumina and the power of Watson, we hope to deliver a rapid turnaround of the genomic alteration results.”

In April 2015, the company launched IBM Watson Health and the Watson Health Cloud platform to provide additional information for doctors, researchers and insurance companies to search through personal health data being created and shared daily.

Last year, IBM exhibited new imaging solutions t the Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting to help healthcare providers carry out personalised approaches to patient diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring.

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