Sanford among 14 organizations working with IBM to advance cancer genomics

IBM Watson Health aims to accelerate personalized treatment options, cut DNA analysis time

NEW YORK – IBM Watson Health is partnering with more than a dozen leading cancer institutes, including Sanford Health, to quickly translate DNA insights into personalized treatment options for patients. The project is part of IBM’s broader Watson Health initiative to advance patient-centered care and improve health.

Across its enterprise, Sanford will utilize Watson Genomic Analytics, a cloud-based service for evidence gathering and analysis. It looks for variations in the full human genome and uses Watson’s cognitive capabilities to examine all available data sources such as treatment guidelines, research, clinical studies, journal articles and patient information. Watson Genomic Analytics then provides a list of relevant medical literature and drugs. The patient’s doctor reviews this information alongside underlying evidence to make more informed treatment decisions. Watson Genomic Analytics constantly gets smarter as the system learns from patient data.

The collaborations will enable clinicians to use Watson with a much broader set of patients by the end of 2015, and will accelerate the promise of personalized medicine for cancer patients everywhere.

“Customized cancer treatment based on a tumor’s genetic composition is the future of cancer therapy,” said Steven Powell, M.D., a Sanford Health oncologist and cancer researcher based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “However, due to the unique genetic make-up of each individual and the complexities of the cancer genome, a personalized approach can take an enormous amount of time to process. For any type of disease, rapid analysis and understanding of this complex genomic information will lead to more precise and effective treatments.”

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