IBM, VA Extend AI-Based Cancer Treatment Identification Partnership

The Department of Veterans Affairs has extended a partnership with IBM to identify treatment options for military veterans with cancer through the use of artificial intelligence technology.

IBM said Thursday VA oncologists have used the company’s Watson for Genomics system to support precision oncology care programs under a public-private initiative formed in 2016.

“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 Kyu Rhee, chief health officer of IBM’s Watson Health business.

“This is where AI can play an important role in helping to scale precision oncology,” Rhee added.

A group of oncologists and pathologists at the department’s facility in Durham, N.C., use the technology in efforts to interpret genomic data from VA patients nationwide and identify potential therapeutic methods that can target tumor-specific mutations.

Veterans from rural areas account for one-third of all patients supported by the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, the company noted.

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