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MSKCC, IBM Developing Tool for Personalized Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and IBM today announced they will work together to develop a tool to help doctors create individualized cancer diagnostic and treatment recommendations based on current evidence.

The tool will use the computational power and natural language processing ability of IBM's Watson system and be combined with MSKCC's clinical knowledge, existing molecular and genomic data, and repository of cancer case histories. The goal, the partners said, is to give physicians access to detailed diagnostic and treatment options based on updated research to make better decisions about patient care.

MSKCC's oncologists will assist in developing IBM Watson to use patient medical information "and synthesize a vast array of continuously updated and vetted treatment guidelines, published research, and insights gleamed from the deep experience of MSKCC clinicians to provide an individualized recommendation to physicians," it and IBM said in a statement.

Development work has begun for the first application, which includes lung, breast, and prostate cancers, with a goal of providing solutions to a select group of doctors in late 2012 and a wider distribution planned for late 2013.

"The combination of transformational technologies found in Watson with our cancer analytics and decision-making process has the potential to revolutionize the accessibility of information for the treatment of cancer in communities across the country and around the world," MSKCC President and CEO Craig Thompson said in a statement. He added that in addition to improving the personalized care of individual patients, the center expects new research opportunities to emerge from the collaboration.

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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