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Can Technology Help Doctors Eradicate Cancer?

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced Friday that MD Anderson is using the IBM Watson cognitive computing system for its mission to eradicate cancer.

Following a year-long collaboration, IBM and MD Anderson will showcase a prototype of MD Anderson’s Oncology Expert Advisor powered by IBM Watson.

The organizations will discuss their shared vision to leverage Watson’s cognitive computing power to help patients by enabling clinicians to uncover valuable insights from the cancer center’s rich patient and research databases.

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MD Anderson’s Oncology Expert Advisor powered by IBM Watson is designed to integrate the knowledge of MD Anderson’s clinicians and researchers, and to advance the cancer center’s goal of treating patients with the most effective, safe and evidence-based standard of care available.

Starting with the fight against Leukemia, MD Anderson’s Oncology Expert Advisor is expected to help MD Anderson clinicians develop, observe and fine-tune treatment plans for patients, while helping them recognize adverse events that may occur throughout the care continuum.

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The cognitive-powered technology is also expected to help researchers advance novel discoveries.

MD Anderson’s Oncology Expert Advisor is expected to be accessible to the cancer center’s network of clinicians through a computer interface and supported mobile devices.

This provides clinicians – and in turn, patients – with immediate, worldwide access to MD Anderson’s expertise and resources, and to IBM Watson’s technology prowess in quickly extracting crucial insights from large volumes of complex data.

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A new era of computing has emerged, in which cognitive systems “understand” the context within users’ questions, uncover answers from Big Data, and improve in performance by continuously learning from experiences.

The need for these types of cognitive capabilities in the battle against cancer is clear. The American Cancer Society projects 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year.

Within this global epidemic lies a lethal subset: leukemia, which causes nearly one-third of all cancer deaths in children and adolescents younger than 15 years, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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