Cancer Center Teams Up With IBM

Nebraska Medicine's Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is partnering with IBM. An IBM program cuts DNA analysis time from weeks to minutes.

Currently, IBM’s Watson Genomic Analytics program is in an early testing stage. It analyzes a patient's "genomic profile" - identifying relevant mutations and potential drugs that may be considered during treatment.

The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, is one of 14 cancer institutes to partner on the project.

Babu Guda, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Bioinformatics Systems Biology Core Facility at UNMC, will be collaborating with Kenneth Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center and breast cancer physician, to analyze cancer tumor genomes on the project.

“IBM has fed millions of research articles into the program, including biomedical research and clinical information," Dr. Guda said. “The cognitive computer can keep track of the complex relationships among gene mutations, drug treatments and treatment outcomes."

Steve Harvey, vice president, IBM Watson Health, said Watson will help deliver personalized cancer care using the latest advances in science. "Ultimately, our goal is to create a solution that any oncologist in any location can use to identify personalized treatment options for their patients.”