IBM Extends Watson Partnership With VA to Support Veterans With Cancer


Watson is here to help, again.

IBM has chosen to extend a partnership with the Veteran Affairs Department, the company announced Thursday.

This partnership involves the company's computer system, Watson for Genomics Technology, which will continue to help to treat veterans with cancer.

The focus of the partnership is on patients with Stage 4 cancer. Doctors and scientists sequence the DNA of a patient's tumor and use Watson's AI used to spot patterns and mutations that might suggest certain treatments or therapies that could be more beneficial for that specific patient.

"It is incredibly challenging to read, understand and stay up to date with the breadth and depth of medical literature and link them to relevant mutations for personalized cancer treatments," said Dr. Kyu Rhee, chief health officer for IBM Watson Health. "This is where AI can play an important role in helping to scale precision oncology, as demonstrated in our work with VA."

The partnership was first announced in June 2016, as part of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Now, it will continue through at least June 2019.

The VA treats about 3.5 percent of all cancer patients in America and about 2,700 of them participated in the program with Watson.