IBM Watson for Oncology: helping the cognitive system fight cancer

    IBM Watson already knows how to diagnose as a therapist, and now the system helps doctors fight cancer with the Watson for Oncology program . At the same time, the active block of the system no longer occupies a whole room, the block size is now equal to about three pizza boxes stacked on top of each other. Watson asks questions and makes assumptions using the latest medical research in oncology, plus information from the patient’s medical card and current symptoms. As a result, each patient receives an individual approach - after all, one disease, even the most simple and harmless, proceeds differently in different people. What to speak of such a complex problem as cancer.

    Rob Merkel, head of the health research group at the IBM Watson Group, claims that the cognitive system is able to quickly examine the patient’s medical history, all notes and comments of doctors, view the latest research on this topic and make a diagnosis based on all these data. Moreover, the information is not just summarized, IBM Watson analyzes the data in detail, compares various factors, draws analogies.

    It is clear that the system is able to analyze huge amounts of data, moreover, this is unstructured data, and the system “puts everything into folders” and draws objective conclusions. At the same time, Watson studies the latest data on a specific disease or group of diseases - an ordinary doctor simply cannot study all the necessary information. In the best case, we are talking about several thematic articles based on research results. IBM Watson, on the other hand, can structure massive amounts of data in seconds, while simultaneously studying research results on a specific topic over the past couple of years.

    Very briefly, the principle of Watson is explained in this video:

    Already, the service is being used by some medical centers and hospitals. In particular, Bumrungrad International Hospital works with the service(Thailand). Bumrungrad plans to use Watson technology to improve the quality of cancer treatment at its Bangkok Medical Center, as well as analyze medical cases in offices located in 16 countries on four continents. Over the next five years, Bumrungrad plans to use IBM Watson for Oncology solutions. An innovative system will help hospital staff draw up effective treatment plans for cancer patients, based on the medical data of patients, published studies and an extensive clinical examination of the Center named after Sloan Kettering. IBM Watson will analyze huge amounts of information and, as a result, produce short help relevant for each individual case.

    The service is also used at the New York Genome Research Center . Here, doctors are working to create a reliable method for personalized treatment of human brain cancer, glioblastoma.

    Cancer is a very complex disease that can occur in different ways in different patients. And many doctors try different treatment options before finding the right one. In addition, often oncologists simply do not have time to get acquainted with an avalanche of data on cancer of even a certain type, not to mention additional data on unusual varieties of the disease, and, especially, data on the genome of a particular patient.

    With the help of IBM Watson, doctors quickly analyze the situation, obtaining the necessary data in a matter of hours. At the same time, the system analyzes many terabytes of data, and doctors use this information for personalized treatment of the patient. IBM Watson "learns" in each new case, and the next time the analysis is even faster and more efficient.

    With the help of IBM Watson, each patient is offered a personalized course of treatment, which is aimed at those factors that led to the development of a cancer tumor in a particular person, taking into account his genome. This allows you to increase the chances of a successful recovery, and each new case further increases this probability.

    A few years ago, Watson was used only for demonstrations, such as participating in the quiz “Jeopardy!”. Now the system is actively working in many areas, whether it is medicine, insurance, marketing or even cooking. And the capabilities of IBM Watson are growing. Already, hundreds of companies are working with Watson to improve their performance, and who knows what will happen even in a year?

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