IBM Watson platform helps a major cancer center accelerate knowledge transfer from research to practice

Published on 05-Nov-2013

Customer:
Major cancer research center

Industry:
Healthcare

Solution:
Big Data, Big Data & Analytics, Big Data & Analytics: New business models, Big Data & Analytics: Operations/Fraud/Threats, Watson

Overview

Inefficiency causes 40 percent of late-stage cancer treatment trials funded by the U.S. government to be abandoned before completion. The cancer center is working with IBM to train the IBM Watson platform on discovery of new insights into the most effective treatments for patients in a variety of clinical situations. The solution provides evidence-based insights to help researchers understand effects of therapies on certain patient cohorts.

Business need:
The cancer research center was looking for ways to improve its ability to incorporate patient-specific factors into its research — for example, matching clinical trials with patient profiles and improving visibility into relevant patient data, therapy evaluation and patient prognosis.

Solution:
The cancer center is working with IBM to train the IBM Watson platform on discovery of new insights into the most effective treatments for patients in a variety of clinical situations.

Benefits:
• Provides evidence-based insights to help researchers understand effects of therapies on certain patient cohorts • Includes unstructured data in analyses using natural language processing • Continues to improve iteratively over time through machine learning

Case Study

In the United States alone, USD95 billion is spent on medical research every year, yet only 6 percent of clinical trials are completed on time. According to a report by the Institute of Medicine, inefficiency causes 40 percent of late-stage cancer treatment trials funded by the U.S. government to be abandoned before completion. “Improved treatments for cancer will be delayed and patient lives will be lost unnecessarily unless the efficiency and effectiveness of the clinical trials system improves,” the report says.1
Research underway at one of the nation’s major cancer centers holds the promise of increasing treatment efficacy, improving patient outcomes and redefining the ways in which research is brought into practice. The center teamed up with IBM to accelerate both cancer treatment research and the transfer of research findings into use by practitioners.

Challenge
The cancer research center was looking for ways to improve its ability to incorporate patient-specific factors into its research — for example, matching clinical trials with patient profiles and improving visibility into relevant patient data, therapy evaluation and patient prognosis.

The organization was also looking to improve aspects of its operational research, such as monitoring and tracking adverse events caused by treatments and anticipating responses. It wanted to extract greater insights from the data to dramatically shorten the time it takes to bring effective treatment options out of the labs and into care providers’ hands.

Solution
The cancer center is working with IBM to train the IBM Watson platform on discovery of new insights into the most effective treatments for patients in a variety of clinical situations. Watson will use hypothesis generation and evaluation to analyze massive volumes of medical data to understand which treatments drive desired responses in patients with particular attributes.

The system’s natural language processing capabilities enable it to analyze unstructured data alongside structured data, so it will evaluate information ranging from established treatment options and clinical trial data to adverse event documentation, notes from grand rounds, patient outcomes and clinical feedback, as well as newly developed treatment methods and protocols usually used with other forms of cancer. The findings will be documented in the medical literature and incorporated into clinical best practices. Machine learning will enable the system to improve iteratively over time as it’s used.

The project has begun with a focus on Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), which will be followed by other forms of leukemia and then cancers in general. The Watson solution gives researchers a head start in discovery and validation of new evidence on life-saving treatments that might otherwise take much longer to bring to patients who desperately need them.

Benefits

  • Provides evidence-based insights to help researchers understand effects of therapies on certain patient cohorts
  • Includes unstructured data in analyses using natural language processing
  • Continues to improve iteratively over time through machine learning
For more information
To learn more about IBM Watson, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/watson

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
Power Systems

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM CorporationSoftware GroupRoute 100Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of AmericaOctober 2013All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM Watson, and POWER7 are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at: www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. 1 Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. April 2010. “A National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century: Reinvigorating the NCI Cooperative Group Program.” Washington, D.C.