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January 9, 2017

IBM and Illumina Team Up to Advance Precision Cancer Research

  • IBM Watson Health and Illumina announced a partnership to integrate Watson for Genomics into Illumina’s BaseSpace® next-generation sequencing (NGS) hub. This collaboration is designed to help standardize and simplify genomic data interpretation.

    With this integration, researchers who use Illumina’s cancer genome sequencing panel will have rapid access to information to help interpret variant data produced by TruSight® Tumor 170 (a solid tumor profiling panel, available in 2017). Watson for Genomics can produce a report for researchers by compiling TruSight genetic alteration files, professional guidelines, medical literature, clinical trials, and others—a process that usually takes a week can be done in minutes.

    Analyzing the genomic basis of a tumor can be important for understanding the individual patient’s disease, a major aspect of precision medicine. Where Watson for Genomics can help is by correlating potential standard and experiment treatment options with the mutations responsible for cancer growth identified by NGS.

    “To enable precision cancer medicine on a large scale, we need new tools to overcome the data barriers of genomic research,” said Francis deSouza, president and CEO of Illumina. “With a comprehensive assay of Illumina and the power of Watson, we hope to deliver a rapid turnaround of the genomic alteration results.”

    “This partnership lays the groundwork for more systematic study of the impact of genomics in oncology,” said Deborah DiSanzo, general manager, IBM Watson Health. “Together we are poised to help researchers realize the potential of precision oncology by expanding access to valuable genome sequencing from Illumina and reliable, standardized genomic interpretation from Watson.”

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