IBM Aims for Personalized Medicine with New Analytics Platform

IBM has developed a biomedical analytics platform designed to help doctors deliver personalized medicine to cancer patients. Scientists from IBM Research are collaborating with physicians from the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, a pre-clinical and clinical oncology research and treatment institution in Italy, to test the decision support tool.

After physicians make a diagnosis, they use the IBM platform to prescribe a course of treatment based on a patient’s personal makeup and disease profile, automated interpretation of pathology clinical guidelines and data from past clinical cases. Clinical Genomics also allows hospital administrators to drill down the data to understand what guidelines physicians used, which cases were successful and if treatment quality improved over time.

“Before beginning this research, I always thought that when we get sick the doctor will tell us what treatment will work best,” Boaz Carmeli said on IBM’s blog. Carmeli’s team helped develop the platform at IBM Research – Haifa, IBM’s research and development lab in Israel.

“In reality, although we can have one diagnosis, there are many treatment options available. Choosing the best one depends on a huge number of factors, including our genetic profile, age, weight, family history, general health, and the current state of the disease.”

Some experts predict that the digitizing of biomedical data will soon help doctors deliver personalized medicine like never before. In his new book “The Creative Destruction of Medicine” cardiologist and Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute Eric Topol explains how he thinks digital tools will result in the delivery of better care.

“We need real evidence based on individuals, not populations. Fortunately, our ability to get just that information is rapidly emerging, beginning an era characterized by the right drug, the right dose, and the right screen for the patients, with the right doctor, at the right cost,” Topol writes.

IBM said its analytics platform could be expanded to help personalize treatment for other patients with diseases like hypertension and AIDS.

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