Feb 8 IBM's Watson supercomputer has beaten
expert "Jeopardy" quiz show contestants, and its predecessor
defeated a world chess champion. Now, doctors hope it can help
them outsmart cancer.
Oncologists at two medical groups have started to test IBM's
Watson's supercomputer system in an effort to improve speed and
efficacy of treatments, the company said on Friday.
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.
"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
"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
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 said.
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 U.S.
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