One of humankind’s deadliest diseases is cancer. It is not only deadly for the amount of victims it claims, but for the fact that there is still no known cure. While certain treatments like chemotherapy can be used in the fight against this terrible affliction, they do not always succeed. That is why IBM and genetic research company Illumina are teaming up to use IBM’s Watson to take cancer head on.
Watson is a cognitive technology that was designed for the sole purpose of analyzing data and answering some of the world’s toughest questions. The two companies have come together to create Watson for Genomics. Watson for Genomics hopes to both simplify and create an industry standard for genomic data interpretation in cancer research.
Scientists who are using Illumina’s BaseSpace Sequence hub and tumor sequencing process will now be able to analyze the information collected much faster. According to an official statement from IBM, Watson for Genomics will essentially read through a breadth of academic research as well as genetic files produced by Illumina’s TruSight Tumor 170 and create a report that researchers can use in mere minutes. The TruSight Tumor 170 is a solid tumor profiling panel created to detect several variants across 170 genes.
All of this is tremendous news for cancer research. Understanding genomics is a crucial element to fighting cancer. Recent studies suggest that by understanding the genomic element of a tumor, physicians can better tailor a specific treatment to a patient, instead of applying a general treatment, which may not provide any help.
In the same statement, President and CEO of Illumina, Francis deSouza, noted his thoughts on the incredible potential of the team up. “To enable precision cancer medicine on a large scale, we need new tools to overcome the data barriers of genomic research,” said deSouza. “With a comprehensive assay of Illumina and the power of Watson, we hope to deliver a rapid turnaround of the genomic alteration results.”
As Watson continues to grow and learn, its implementation into genomic research can do wonders for cancer research. Hopefully, this team up can prove fruitful and create the long-awaited cure for cancer.