IBM’s Watson supercomputer has scored its next big customer: The Department of Veterans Affairs. The goal of the “public-private” partnership is to apply the technology to better treat some 10,000 veterans with cancer.
IBM says that the VA will sequence these patients’ DNA, and that data will be de-identified before it is analyzed by Watson. The VA’s physicians will subsequently receive a report that identifies the most likely route of the cancer-causing mutation and potential drug candidates — all based on a review of the medical literature.
This more targeted approach to cancer treatment is nothing new, but it’s increasingly in the spotlight in the wake of the Obama Administration’s $215 million “Precision Medicine” initiative.