Machine learning is a subfield of computer science, that grew out of the quest for artificial intelligence. It is so pervasive in today’s world that you probably use it often in daily life, without even realising it. Machine learning has given us self-driving cars, effective web search, recommendations that you get when you visit web sites or social media sites, face detection in a digital photo album, stock trading etc.
Machine learning enables computers to analyze vast amounts of data and automatically detect patterns and features, or make predictions regarding certain conditions. In a dynamic disease like cancer, gauging and diagnosing such a complex heterogeneity is the biggest challenge. After decades of cancer research, it has become increasingly clear that no two patients’ cancers are exactly the same, and even within one person’s tumor there is a wild diversity of cells. Accurate and quicker diagnosis is very crucial in rapidly progressing cancers. And with the vast data of research and clinical data that has been compiled over the years, who can make sense of this deluge of data? It would take eons for a human, but minutes for a supercomputer.
Looks like Watson helps crack mysteries not only for Sherlock!
A woman in Japan, initially diagnosed of acute myeloid leukemia, a rare form of blood cancer, underwent chemotherapy. However, her recovery after the treatment was unusually slow, leading her doctors in University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science to suspect of a different form of leukaemia. In a mysterious medical case, that looked straight out of a Dr. House series, conventional tests failed to show any sign of it. Dr. Tojo’steam, turned to IBM’s Watson, which proved to be a life saving move. Watson, a cloud based AI-powered computer system, developed by IBM, cross referenced this case against 20 million oncological records, and concluded in a mere 10 minutes that the patient suffered from a different type of leukaemia than originally diagnosed, following which they started a new treatment regimen, which was far more successful.
“We would have arrived at the same conclusion by manually going through the data, but Watson’s speed is crucial in the treatment of leukaemia, which progresses rapidly and can cause complications,” said Dr.Tojo.
IBM join hands with CognitiveCare in China to customize cancer therapy
21 hospitals across China have adopted Watson for Oncology, in an initiative to provide customized, evidence-based approach to treatment due to the unique nature of the disease.