Boston Children’s Hospital is harnessing IBM’s Watson supercomputer to help doctors identify possible options for the diagnosis and treatment of rare pediatric diseases.
Initially, Watson will analyze massive volumes of scientific literature and clinical databases related to kidney disease. The supercomputer will use its Watson Health Cloud, which brings data together from a range of sources, to match genetic mutations to diseases.
The initiative, which is the first time that Watson has been applied to the challenge of rare diseases, aims to significantly speed up doctors’ diagnostic work.
“Doctors spend on average about 25 hours per case analyzing genomic sequencing data, and there are too few clinicians qualified to decipher DNA data for rare pediatric diseases,” said Steve Harvey, vice president of IBM Watson Health, via email. “Our hope is that Watson can help doctors dramatically reduce the time it takes to review these cases, and ensure they leave no stone unturned when diagnosing and treating children with rare diseases.”