IBM's supercomputer Watson to help fight cancer in veteran community

Posted at 8:25 AM, Jul 01, 2016

IBM's supercomputer is taking on cancer. 

This week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and IBM announced a 2-year partnership to help veterans who are battling cancer through use of the Watson supercomputer.

The technology platform that reveals insights from large amounts of unstructured data is going to assist with the department's precision oncology program.

The goal of the Watson for Genomics technology is to help physicians figure out precision treatment options.

According to a news release, Watson will use patient data to find the cancer causing mutations in DNA--and then suggest possible treatment options to directly target those mutations.

“Genetic alterations are responsible for most cancers, but it remains challenging for most clinicians to deliver on the promise of precision medicine due to the sheer volume of data surrounding each decision that needs to be made,” said Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health Dr. David J. Shulkin in a statement. “By applying Watson to this problem, we see an opportunity to scale access to precision medicine for America’s Veterans, a group most deserving of the best care in the world.”

This technology, the VA says, will significantly up the process of personalized care.

With Watson, physicians are expected to be able to come up with these precision options for "almost 30 times more patients than could be previously served."

More information available here.