Late last month saw IBM expand its existing engagement with the Cleveland Clinic around its deployment of IBM Watson technology to cover new domains. The vendor already has worked with faculty, physicians and students at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University on a project to develop Watson-related cognitive technologies to help physicians make more informed and accurate decisions faster and to cull new insights from electronic medical records. Now, the Lerner Research Institute’s Genomic Medicine Institute at Cleveland Clinic will evaluate Watson’s ability to help oncologists develop more personalized care to patients for a variety of cancers.
Watson is being leveraged by other institutions in the field of cancer care, including Memorial Sloan Kettering and MD Anderson. The new venture with Cleveland Clinic is focused on identifying patterns in genome sequencing and medical data to unlock insights that will help clinicians bring the promise of genomic medicine to their patients, using Watson’s cognitive system, deep computational biology models and IBM’s public cloud infrastructure SoftLayer, IBM says.
“There is a lot of work going on in the cancer area,” says Steve Harvey, IBM VP of Watson Cancer Genomics. This latest partnership aims to work toward identifying drugs that might be relevant to treat a particular patient’s condition by working from the understanding that cancer is a disease of DNA, and by leveraging the fact that the cost of reading DNA has gone down drastically. Today, it’s possible to take a patient’s normal cell and see the DNA there and compare that to the DNA in a cancer cell to see the differences – the mutations – that can point medical professionals in the direction of what actually is causing the tumor.