Novartis and IBM Watson to optimise cancer care and patient outcomes


Novartis has partnered with IBM Watson Health on an outcome-based initiative for patients with advanced breast cancer.

The collaboration will involve research on a cognitive solution that uses real-world data and advanced analytical techniques to allow a better understanding of the potential outcomes of treatment options for breast cancer.

Novartis oncology CEO Bruno Strigini said: "Through this collaboration with IBM Watson Health, we will use real-world breast cancer data and cognitive computing to identify solutions that may help physicians better understand which therapy may be best for which patients or advise clinical practice guidelines, with the goal of improving patient outcomes and experiences.”

The partnership will leverage Novartis’ knowledge in the field of breast cancer and IBM Watson’s expertise in data analytics and machine learning to establish required combinations and sequences for improved patient outcomes.

"The collaboration will involve research on a cognitive solution that uses real-world data and advanced analytical techniques to allow better understanding of the potential outcomes of treatment options for breast cancer."

IBM Watson Health chief medical informatics officer Anil Jain said: "At Watson Health, we are tackling some of the world's greatest challenges at the nexus of science and data, and we are proud to work with Novartis to better individualise advanced breast cancer treatment approaches in an effort to enhance patient care.”

Anil Jain further added that insights into the real-world outcomes of therapeutics on subsets of patients are important for clinicians, and through the partnership, the firms aim to provide such insights to the oncologists.

IBM Watson’s cognitive computing capability is delivered via the cloud and is designed to analyse high volumes of data and understand complex questions presented in natural language before delivering evidence-based answers.

The system, known as Watson, is said to learn continuously and gain knowledge through prior interactions.


Image: Novartis headquarters. Photo: courtesy of Andrew Hecht/Flickr.