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DNA sequencing just about to be high tech with Watson


On the next few months, Watson cloud computing will be used to the sequencing of DNA for the solution to of glioblastoma, the most common type of brain cancer in U.S. adults.

New York Genome Center, a consortium of academic, medical and industry officials, will use Watson in order to sequence the DNA of cancer tumors at a rate faster than it normally can, if done by a human. The DNA information shall be combined with actual clinical information, wherein both will be fed into Watson to help determine the best way to treat a particular patient.
Watson is unlike any program that you see on the computer. It doesn’t rely on the information fed into it. It utilizes the internet for its vast information available online and combines it with information and with the results of previous work to find answers to problems. That is why the Watson becomes a popular choice for the study.
John Kelly, a senior vice president and director of IBM research, says there’s a vast amount of data needed in DNA sequencing, which then must be merged with all of the clinical data involved in a particular patient’s case. What people can accomplish in a year, would only take Watson a few seconds.

Dr. Robert Darnell, New York Genome’s president, CEO and scientific director, says that analyzing a person’s brain tumor would mean sequencing 800 billion base pairs of DNA. He was only able to sequence 140 DNA by himself, by through the use of Watson, they can sequence 75 million base pairs in one second.

And Darnell noted that the genetic makeup will help doctor to treat the disease. Watson can determine the best treatment for a patient based on the tumor’s mutations. For instance, if a child’s leukemia is similar to the genetic traits of melanoma, then doctor would advice melanoma drug for the patient.
“This is the proverbial needle in the haystack and the haystack is enormous,” Kelly says. “Watson can do in seconds what would take people years. And we can get it down to a really personal level.”

At the start of the study, researchers want to do it with only 20 brain cancer patients. Watson will sequence their DNA and then run the information through Watson in order figure out the best ways to treat them.
Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Corp. already formed a relationship with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where Watson is also used to help treat cancer. Earlier this year, IBM announced that they are willing to invest $1 billion to further develop Watson.

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