Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the latest health care organization to collaborate with IBM Corp. on the data analytics, natural language processing and retrieval technologies of the Watson supercomputer for research and treatment purposes.

The hospital and vendor will develop an oncology clinical decision support system taking advantage of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s molecular and genomic databases, and its repository of cancer case histories. The first applications, with piloting scheduled for late 2012 and wider distribution by late 2013, will include lung, breast and prostate cancers.

The hospital’s work will accelerate the dissemination of research to all oncology physicians, says Mark Kris, M.D., chief of thoracic oncology service at Memorial Sloan. He notes that 85 percent of cancer patients are not treated at specialized medical centers and it can take years for the latest developments in oncology treatment to reach all practice settings.

Other organizations working with IBM to commercialize Watson capabilities include:

* Nuance Communications, Columbia University Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, to embed Nuance’s natural language processing technology to enable a computer to read and understand text and abstract data; and

* Insurer WellPoint Inc. and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, to use data from patient medical histories, recent test results, recent treatment protocols and new research findings to help physicians identify best treatment choices.

More information on Watson is available here.

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