Memorial SloanKettering puts Watson to use to aid cancer treatment decisions

We heard almost a year ago that Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center had turned to IBM's Watson as a tool to help doctors provide the best cancer treatment recommendations, and it looks like those plans are now starting to be put into practice. IBM, along with WellPoint, Inc. and Memorial Sloan-Kettering, have today announced what they describe as the "first commercially developed Watson-based cognitive computing breakthroughs." More specifically, they've developed a system that allows Waston to draw on a wealth of medical information and quickly provide evidence-based treatment recommendations to doctors.

And we do mean a wealth of information; as IBM explains, Watson has spent the last year digesting more than 600,000 pieces of medical evidence and two million pages of text from 42 medical journals, and it has the ability to parse some 1.5 million patient records covering decades of cancer treatment history. That all takes the form of two separate "Watson-based" products to start with, one of which IBM expects to be used by more 1,600 providers by the end of this year. You can find more details on those at the source links, and get a more general overview of the project in the video after the break from IBM.