Oncologists at two medical groups have started to test IBM's
Watson supercomputer system in an effort to improve speed and efficacy of
treatments, the company said.
The Maine Center for Cancer Medicine and Westmed Medical
Group will begin testing an application based on Watson's cognitive computing
to help diagnose lung cancer and recommend treatment, IBM said.
How the study was
"Access to comprehensive care can be difficult in rural
areas such as southern Maine," said Tracey Weisberg, medical oncology
president at Maine Center for Cancer Medicine and Blood Disorders."This
allows the most comprehensive evidence based treatment we could have only
dreamed of in the past," she added.
Watson is an artificial intelligence super computer system
named after legendary International Business Machines President Thomas Watson. Thanks
to its computing power Watson can sift through 1.5 million patient records and
histories to provide treatment options in a matter of seconds based on previous
treatment outcomes and patient histories.
It has been fed with
more than 600 000 pieces of medical evidence, 2 million pages of text from 42
medical journals and clinical trials in the area of oncology research, IBM
IBM partnered with
In addition, IBM
partnered with clinicians and technology experts from health insurer WellPoint
and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who spent thousands of hours to
teach Watson how to process, analyze and interpret the meaning of complex
clinical information, IBM said.
"Every doctor knows they cannot keep up with hundreds
of new articles but every physician wants to be right and this is a way of
facilitating that," said Samuel Nussbaum, chief medical officer at
WellPoint.IBM first showcased Watson's powers almost two years ago.
The computer beat two human competitors on the popular US
quiz show "Jeopardy!" highlighting the progress people have made in
making machines able to think like them.IBM has since further advanced Watson's
linguistic and analytical abilities to develop new products such as medical