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May 6, 2015

IBM Watson speeds up DNA analysis for cancer treatment

The project is part of IBM’s Watson Health initiative to advance patient-centered care and improve health.

By CBR Staff Writer

Fourteen US and Canadian cancer institutes have collaborated with IBM to use its Watson supercomputer to speed up DNA analysis for personalised treatment.

The collaboration extends the use of Watson for cancer treatment which is being used for language learning, personalised shopping, developing apps and services leveraging its cognitive computing.

The partners will use Watson’s cognitive capabilities and Genomic Analytics to reduce the time to minutes from weeks in the translation of DNA information to create a genetic profile of a patient.

They will initially analyse DNA from patients with a variety of cancers such as lymphoma, melanoma, pancreatic, ovarian, brain, lung, breast and colorectal cancer.

IBM Watson Health vice president Steve Harvey said: "This collaboration is about giving clinicians the ability to do for a broader population what is currently only available to a small number – identify personalised, precision cancer treatments.

"The technology that we’re applying to this challenge brings the power of cognitive computing to bear on one of the most urgent and pressing issues of our time – the fight against cancer – in a way that has never before been possible."

Partners participating in the project include Ann & Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, BC Cancer Agency, City of Hope, Cleveland Clinic, Duke Cancer Institute, Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha, Nebraska, McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, New York Genome Center, Sanford Health.

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University of Kansas Cancer Center, University of North Carolina Lineberger Cancer Center, University of Southern California Center for Applied Molecular Medicine, University of Washington Medical Center, and Yale Cancer Center are also the partners involved in the project.

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