Study at University of Chicago Uses Supercomputer to Shorten Time Required to Analyze Whole Human Genome Sequences; May Help Pathologists Deliver Faster Diagnoses

Achievement at University of Chicago may help clinical laboratories analyze large quantities of genomic data much faster than ever before, thus shortening the time required to produce a diagnostic result

It’s a breakthrough in the time required to analyze data from whole human genome sequencing. Researchers at the University of Chicago have successfully demonstrated that genome analysis can be radically accelerated.

This could be a big deal for pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists. That’s because a faster time-to-answer from gene sequencing would increase its diagnostic and therapeutic value to clinicians.

Faster and more accurate analysis of genomic data holds the promise of advances in patient management and greater understanding of the genetic causes of risk and disease. This could mean expanded opportunities for pathologists to engage with clinicians in the use of genomic data to inform diagnosis, choice of treatment, and disease management. (more…)

Pathologists Take Note: IBM’s Watson to Attack Cancer with Help of WellPoint and Cedars-Sinai

Goal of unique collaboration is to give physicians a more accurate way to diagnose and treat many types of cancer

Two noteworthy healthcare organizations will collaborate with IBM (NYSE: IBM) to explore how IBM’s Watson can be used to help physicians deliver improved outcomes to patients. The collaboration involves one major health insurer and a prominent academic medical center in Los Angeles.

WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP) will interact with oncology experts at the Cedars-Sinai Cancer Institute in Los Angeles to “educate” and program Watson as a physician’s assistant. What makes this particularly interesting for anatomic pathologists is the potential of this project to marry advances in molecular diagnostics with artificial intelligence in ways that allow physicians to diagnose different cancers earlier and with greater accuracy.

In its story about this development, the Los Angeles Times reported that, per IBM, physicians at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute will be the first to use the Watson technology.

The institute’s doctors will serve as advisers and lend expertise to help shape the initiative to develop effective ways to use Watson. “Cedars Sinai will provide the guidelines and insights to put into Watson,” stated Manoj Saxena, General Manager of IBM Watson Solutions, in a story published by Forbes Magazine.

Watson is IBM’s computing system that incorporates deep question answering technology that allows it to search quickly through vast amounts of data, then process it and analyze it in a way similar to that of the human brain. The Watson system is capable of processing the equivalent of about 200 million pages of data in about three seconds, Forbes reported.