IBM’s AI “Watson” Can Improve Cancer Treatment


Researchers are anticipating that the artificial intelligence system of IBM – Watson – will benefit people with cancer and will provide a quick, complete report of the genetic changes at the origin of their definite disease and also enlist the treatments. Dr. Ravindra Kolhe, an Indian pathologist and Director of the Georgia Esoteric & Molecular Labs LLC apprised the Watson Genomic Analysis in the International Cancer Genomics Consortium at Denver earlier this month on August 7-9.

He explained that typically a pathologist will examine a melanoma biopsy for an only variant of the BRAF gene that exists in almost 50% of melanomas. To address it, there are medications that aim right at the mutated gene, but if BRAF is not found, then the patient receives a wide-ranging chemotherapy treatment. Watson, on the contrary, quickly identifies various variants in BRAF identity, together with variants in almost a set of other genes, which causes skin cancer, besides providing information on the treatments aimed at these genes.

Watson to Crack Cancer Detection

He said most of the time, patients are just informed about their cancer, but Watson will help to provide wide-ranging personalized care to the patients. The Pathologist will structure DNA and RNA from the patient’s tumor and then will feed the data to Watson via a question-answering computer system.  This system is different from customary search engines and can collect indications to examine the data and moreover generate knowledge.

Watson examines the abnormalities in the sample, seeks data all around the world about related medications currently used against them, inferring current studies ongoing against them, and registering other medications options that can be useful. The whole examination takes around 20 minutes to process.

AI Platform to Assort Unknowns

Although the decision about treatment is solely in the hands of doctors and patients, Watson can make available unique statistics related to the best treatment a patient can have. There was a list of gene variations which were not acknowledged by treatments, along with gene alterations that were existing, but their contribution to disease are at present unknown. After coming across with those unknowns, Watson may help researchers to categorize the new genetic contributors across multiple of cancers and make Watson a valued scientific device as well.

The Director of the Department of Pathology of Medical College of Georgia anticipates to start testing on existing patients from September and the California-based biotech company would be accessible to other pathologists approximately the same time.

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