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Manipal Hospitals fights cancer using IBM’s ‘Watson’

Manipal can combine clinicians’ expertise across various types of cancers with Watson’s cognitive computing technology.  

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“We are at an inflection point in India regarding cancer care”

Manipal Hospitals corporate and teaching facilities will adopt IBM’s supercomputer, called Watson, to fight cancer, chief executive of the hospital Dr. Ajay Bakshi said.

Watson uses natural language processing and machine learning to analyze large amounts of medical data to speed up the diagnosis process. It would reveal insights that would help oncologists provide cancer patients with individualized healthcare. This includes assessing individual tumours to suggest which drug should be used to target them, Dr. Bakshi said.

“We are at an inflection point in India regarding cancer care,” he said. The company decided to take the help of Watson as there was a shortage of oncologists to treat a growing number of patients.

IBM said this would be the first deployment of Watson in India. Watson for Oncology was developed by IBM in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, one of the world’s leading cancer centers.

Manipal can combine clinicians’ expertise across various types of cancers with Watson’s cognitive computing technology. Cognitive computing involves self-learning systems that use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works.

“We believe the result will be to raise the level of care throughout the region,” said Dr. Bakshi.

Watson for Oncology has ingested almost 15 million pages of medical content, including more than 200 medical textbooks and 300 medical journals.

This year alone, almost 44,000 oncology research papers have been published in medical journals around the world. This amounts to close to 122 new papers published every day, outpacing the ability of humans to keep up with the proliferation of medical knowledge.

IBM said the machine’s learning capability enables it to continuously learn about oncology over time. Doctors will have access to peer reviewed studies, clinical guidelines, and expert perspectives. Cancers of all type claim approximately 6,80,000 lives each year in India, making it the leading cause of death in the country after heart diseases, according to the World Health Organization. There are one million new cancer cases diagnosed every year in India, and this is expected to rise fivefold by 2020.

“This engagement represents a major step in the transformation of healthcare in India,” said Vanitha Narayanan, Managing Director, IBM India. “With IBM Watson we are bringing cognitive computing to the healthcare ecosystem to help deliver greater value to patients in India.”

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2017 12:33:50 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/business/manipal-hospitals-fights-cancer-using-ibms-watson/article7941942.ece