Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for February 1st, 2017

Your Computer Can Help Smash Childhood Cancer

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Medical researchers and IBM are asking for the public’s help in finding prospective treatments for childhood cancers.

Scientists are searching for chemical drug candidates that can affect the key molecules and proteins that control cancer cells in several common childhood cancers. However, finding drug candidates is normally an expensive and slow process.

To accelerate the process and broaden the search, IBM is providing those scientists with free access to World Community Grid, an IBM-funded and managed program that advances scientific research by harnessing computing power “donated” by volunteers around the globe.

This resource is the equivalent of a virtual supercomputer that helps enable scientists to more quickly conduct millions of virtual experiments. These experiments aim to pinpoint promising drug candidates for further study.

In the U.S., the project was announced at a press conference led by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, IBM, and Dr. Ching Lau of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Jackson Laboratory, and UConn School of Medicine, who is spearheading the effort in the United States. 

Volunteers don’t provide any time, money or technical expertise to assist with this research effort, called Smash Childhood Cancer.

Instead, they participate in World Community Grid by downloading and installing a free app on their computer or Android devices. While otherwise idle, volunteers’ devices automatically perform virtual experiments on behalf of the research team. The results are transmitted back to researchers, where they are analyzed.

Smash Childhood Cancer brings together an international team of expert researchers from Chiba University and Kyoto University in Japan; The University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong; and the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, the Jackson Laboratory, and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in the United States.

The global initiative is led by Dr. Akira Nakagawara, an internationally renowned pediatric oncologist, molecular biologist and CEO of the Saga Medical Center KOSEIKAN, in Japan. Dr. Nakagawara used the same research approach on a previous World Community Grid project which successfully identified drug candidates for neuroblastoma, one of the most common cancers in children.

Smash Childhood Cancer expands the search for treatments for neuroblastoma, as well as other forms of childhood cancers including brain tumor, Wilms’ tumor (tumor of the kidney), germ cell tumors (which impact the reproductive and central nervous system), hepatoblastoma (cancer of the liver) and osteosarcoma (cancer of the bone).

Since 2004, IBM’s award-winning World Community Grid has provided this resource for 27 research projects in critical areas including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Zika and Ebola viruses, genetic mapping, sustainable energy, clean water, and ecosystem preservation.

To date, World Community Grid has connected researchers to half a billion U.S. dollars’ worth of free supercomputing power. This resource to accelerate scientific discovery, partially hosted in IBM’s cloud, has been fueled by 720,000 individuals and 440 institutions from 80 countries who have donated more than 1 million years of computing time on more than 3 million desktops, laptops, and Android mobile devices. 

Their participation has helped identify potential treatments for childhood cancer, more efficient solar cells, and more efficient water filtration materials.

World Community Grid is enabled by Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC), an open source software platform developed at the University of California, Berkeley.

Join World Community Grid today to enable your computer or Android device to help Smash Childhood Cancer.

Written by turbotodd

February 1, 2017 at 8:55 am

Jupiter Medical Center Implements Watson for Oncology

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IBM and Jupiter Medical Center today announced that Jupiter will adopt Watson for Oncology trained by Memorial Sloan Kettering, a cognitive computing platform to provide insights to physicians to help them deliver personalized, evidence-based cancer treatment. Jupiter is the first U.S. community hospital to adopt Watson for Oncology, which will go live at the facility in the beginning of March.

Dr. Abraham Schwarzberg, MD, chief of oncology at Jupiter Medical Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, reviews recommendations generated by IBM Watson for Oncology. (Image Courtesy of Jupiter Medical Center)

In the U.S., there will be an estimated 1.7M new cancer cases this year, with 125,000 in Florida alone. As healthcare providers and systems seek to enable data-driven, evidence-based cancer care, an explosion of medical information has created both challenges and opportunities to improve quality care. Currently, approximately 50,000 oncology research papers are published annually, and by 2020 medical information is projected to double every 73 days, outpacing the ability of humans to keep up with the proliferation of medical knowledge.

Watson for Oncology provides information to oncologists to help them deliver evidence-based treatment options by analyzing massive volumes of medical literature to identify individualized treatment options and scaling access to oncology expertise.

Watson for Oncology draws from more than 300 medical journals, more than 200 textbooks, and nearly 15 million pages of text to provide insights about different treatment options and also provides oncologists with information regarding drug options and administration instructions. Watson also ranks the evidence-based treatment options, linking to peer reviewed studies and clinical guidelines. Its machine-learning capability means it continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time.

”At Jupiter Medical Center, we are committed to pioneering new approaches to medicine and health care,” said John D. Couris, President and CEO of Jupiter Medical Center. “Watson for Oncology is part of our significant investment in creating a world-class cancer program and we are proud to be the first U.S. community hospital to arm our clinical team with this cutting-edge technology.”

IBM and MSK have been accelerating Watson for Oncology’s training; Watson for Oncology is now available to assist clinicians in developing treatment plans for breast, lung, colorectal, cervical, ovarian and gastric cancers.

IBM and MSK plan to train Watson on at least 9 additional cancer types this year, covering nearly 80 percent of the worldwide incidence of cancer.

“We were impressed by Watson’s analytical ability to help provide relevant treatment options for patients to allow physicians to personalize patient care in an unparalleled way,” said Abraham Schwarzberg, MD, Chief of Oncology at Jupiter Medical Center. “Harnessing the power of Watson will help our oncology multidisciplinary team identify individual treatments. As one of the first in the country to implement this incredible tool, Jupiter Medical Center continues to be a regional leader in integrating technology to provide cutting-edge clinical care.”

You can learn more about IBM Watson Health here.

Written by turbotodd

February 1, 2017 at 8:42 am

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