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Watson’s Next Challenge: Matching Cancer Patients With Clinical Trials

Watson’s Next Challenge: Matching Cancer Patients With Clinical Trials
[Photo: Flickr user Heipei]

The Mayo Clinic is testing out whether Watson, IBM’s cognitive computing platform, can be used to streamline cancer medication trials. On Monday, IBM and the Mayo Clinic announced a roadmap to use Watson to match patients with oncology trials beginning in early 2015. By having Watson automatically scan through thousands of patient records and medical histories, both organizations hope the platforms will match patients with experimental and potentially lifesaving treatments. The announcement was made at the Mayo Clinic’s annual Transform symposium, which focuses on how tech innovation and design can be applied to health care.

Sean Hogan, vice president at IBM Healthcare, told Fast Company that the new Watson program is designed to increase access to clinical trials for cancer patients. “I have had family members and friends who have all had cancer,” he added. “Cancer is a race against time and you want to get on a plan as quickly as possible because of how aggressive the disease is.” IBM has made oncology one of the areas where they’re seeking new customers for Watson and the Mayo Clinic entered into a partnership with Apple earlier this year as well.

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