STATES CHRONICLE – Illumina, the gene-sequencing giant, announced that it will be joining IBM Watson Health in a joint mission to establish a standardized genomic data interpretation.
IBM or International Business Machines Corporation is a technology company. The American multinational is involved in a number of areas. It is specialized in manufacturing and marketing computer software, middleware, and hardware. It also offers consulting services in areas from nanotechnology to mainframe computers.
The “Big Blue” is also behind the Watson program. IBM Watson is a computer system. It is capable of answering questions. These can be asked in a natural language. The project is part of the DeepQA project.
Back in 2013, Watson announced its first commercial use. The software system started being used as a utilization management tool. It would contribute as a decision tool in cancer treatments.
Now, the IBM Watson Health might expand its area of expertise. Illumina has announced that it will be contributing to the project.
Illumina Inc. is a biotech company. Based in San Diego, California, it is considered an authority in gene sequencing. The company is specialized in marketing and manufacturing integrated systems. These are used to analyze biological functions and genetic variations.
The Illumina – IBM Watson collaboration will work as follows. The Illumina BaseSpace will feature the integration of Watson for Genomics. The aforementioned BaseSpace is NGS hub.
This NGS or next-generation hub will have a set goal. It will try to simplify and standardize genomic data interpretation. The system will work as follows.
Illumina will come with its sequencing panel used in determining cancer genomes. Researchers using such a system will have an easy access to information. This latter should help them interpret various data.
TruSight Tumor 170 will provide the needed data. The said device will be available starting with 2017. It is a profiling panel for solid tumors. It will be able to screen samples for 170 varied tumor mutations.
Watson for Genomics will gather the TruSight Tumor genetic alteration files. It will then compile them in a report for the researchers. The report will also feature other datasets.
Professional guidelines and clinical trials will be included. Medical literature and other sources will also be involved. This compilation will be quite fast. Such a process usually spans over several weeks. Through the system, it will take just a few minutes.
Watson for Genomics should be an important asset. It could help offer more information. This will be analyzed in relation to NGS data. The Illumina panel will identify potential mutations that advantage cancer growth. Watson will then offer potential treatment solutions. It will be correlating standard and experimental such options.
Francis deSouza, the Illumina CEO and president, went to offer details. According to him, new tools are needed in the area. These should help overcome the barriers posed by data analysis. As such, precise cancer medication could be enabled on a larger scale.
deSouza pointed out IBM Watson’s power. He also drew attention to Illumina’s comprehensive assay. By combining the two, he hopes that the company will deliver a rapid turnaround. This will target genomic alteration results.
Deborah DiSanzo, the IBM Watson Health general manager, also released a statement. According to her, the Illumina partnership could be a groundwork basis. More systematic studies could come to follow. These would analyze the relation between oncology and genomics.
DiSanzo also reinforced their common goal. Illumina and IBM Watson have set out to help researchers. They will do so by offering precision oncology tools. Through them, they might help them realize the technology’s potential.
The technology used will be Illumina’s valuable genome sequencing tools. These will combine with Watson’s standardized genomic interpretation.
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