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IBM’s Watson to Sift Through Genomes to Try to Cure Cancer

IBM's WatsonIBM and the New York Genome Center announced a partnership to test whether Watson, the computer that won on Jeopardy, can sift through the genomes of cancer patients and help doctors pick drugs. This effort could hold the key to making DNA sequencing for cancer affordable, but there is a vast amount of work to do that will take years at a minimum. The effort is starting small, looking at 25 patients with glioblastoma multiforme, a rare brain cancer that is almost always fatal. Without treatment median survival is only a few months; surgery, drugs, and radiation extend that to about a year. Each patient’s tumor will be sequenced using the machines made by Illumina, as will the patient’s own genome. The two will be compared, and a list of differences will be sent to Watson. The NYGC will also look at the RNA made by the genes — think of RNA as a messenger that carries genetic information outside the nucleus of the cell.

Read the full story at Forbes.

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More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of NBC Universal’s Live Digital with Shelly Palmer, a weekly half-hour television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.