IBM Watson signs precision medicine pact with hospitals in China

Twenty one hospitals will use the supercomputer and the Watson for Oncology software piloted by Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York to offer personalized care for cancer patients.
By Bernie Monegain
09:56 AM

IBM Watson Health and Hangzhou CognitiveCare are joining forces to provide cancer patients with personalized and evidence-based treatments.

IBM Watson Health's first partnership in China comes at a time when cancer cases are increasing in the region. Moreover, doctors in China are facing an increasing battle to stay up to date about best practices in treatment given the high volume of new and emerging oncology research, IBM Watson executives said.

Twenty-one hospitals across China plan to adopt Watson for Oncology, the supercomputer Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York has been using.

Watson for Oncology draws from a trove of information, including more than 300 medical journals, more than 200 textbooks, and nearly 15 million pages of text to provide recommendations about different drug options and administration instructions. Watson also links to peer reviewed studies and clinical guidelines.

Earlier this month, IBM Watson was credited with identifying a rare form of leukemia that doctors in Japan had missed.

Hangzhou CognitiveCare, for its part, will build on its regional network of teleconsultation system service providers to offer sales, service and customer support including localization of Watson's insights for doctors in China.

Watson's treatment insights – such as drug labels and treatment guidelines – are available to customers in appropriate Chinese dialects. CognitiveCare will set dosing based on Chinese medical guidelines.

Cancer is the leading cause of death among China's population of 1.4 billion. In 2015 alone there were 4.3 million new cancer cases and more than 2.8 million cancer deaths in China. It is estimated that the country is experiencing approximately 12,000 new cancer diagnoses each day, according to statistics published online in January 2016.

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