The partnership of IBM Watson Health and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) was announced on Thursday. The main goal of this cooperation will be to help the Veterans affected by late stage cancer, using Watson’s artificial intelligence.
Watson and VA, partners since 2016
Due to the introduction of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative in 2016, whose aim is to support cancer research in the U.S., Watson joined forces with VA in their Precision Oncology program. They work together by analyzing the tumor samples provided by veterans and searching for any mutations that could occur in the cancer’s genome. Using this data, the oncologists are able to optimize the treatment of cancer by selecting the most effective drugs.
As a result of the cooperation between Watson and VA, more than 2,700 veterans have been the subjects of the research. In their announcement, both parties agreed to continue this partnership, allowing the VA oncologists to support their efforts with Watson’s genomics technology at least until 2019.
Watson’s decision making can match a team of scientists
Before IBM decided to join forces with VA, the company spent two years on training Watson in the oncology departments located in more than 20 cancer institutes, with results suggesting that it can match a whole team of clinicians and scientists. Even though Artificial Intelligence cannot compare to a real doctor, it is surely faster, if not better, at consuming data. This could be crucial in the nationwide efforts to fight cancer, especially since the veterans account to 3.5 percent of all cancer patients in the U.S.
Since Watson can be so good at finding the best drugs and treatments for cancer patients, we are sure that it will help many veterans in their fights to save their lives.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca