The IBM Watson super computer has spent its post-jeopardy years working with various medical institutions trying to optimize healthcare. In the clinical environment the supercomputer has been an invaluable asset. It is able to read through thousands of medical journals searching for treatments specifically tailored to each patient in a matter of seconds– an impossible effort for a single human being. Now, Watson’s capacities are being tested even further in a new collaboration between IBM and the New York Genome Center. In this project, Watson will be helping to analyze the genome sequence of 20 patients with a rare form of brain cancer known as glioblastoma, the diagnosis of which gives patients roughly one year of life expectancy.
Watson will analyze the genome data of both the tumor cells, as well the patient’s healthy cells. Then the supercomputer will cross reference medical journals searching for treatments and comparable genome data to help suggest individualized treatment for these patients to the doctors which will either extend the patient’s lifespan or greatly improve the quality of life of these patients during treatment.