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IBM, American Cancer Society to Create Virtual Cancer Health Advisor

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WASHINGTON, DC: The American Cancer Society (ACS) is partnering with IBM to create the world's first virtual cancer health advisor built on Watson cognitive computing platform.

The Watson cognitive computing, initiative aims to provide cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers with trusted ACS resources and guidance personalised to an individual’s unique journey against cancer.

ACS and IBM will create the resource by drawing upon massive sources of data from both organisations, and then train Watson to use the data to understand and anticipate individuals’ needs.  Having learned from the experiences of people with similar characteristics, the tool can respond with information about symptoms and options for self care based on the patient's situation. Over time, the adviser will become increasingly personalized as it learns more about the user, resulting in recommendations that match preferences, such as for online support groups over telephone calls.

ACS and IBM also envision incorporating Watson’s voice recognition and natural language processing technology to enable users to ask questions and receive audible responses.

More than 1.6 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year. IBM's effort is one of several in the tech industry that aim to make it easier to share and analyze large amounts of data to help treat patients and, ultimately, advance cures for diseases.

IBM is working with researchers, clinicians, and cancer institutions to apply Watson technology to the data challenges of cancer treatment through partnerships with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre and MD Anderson Cancer Centre.

“We help patients every day who seek information and insights to understand the disease and navigate their cancer journey,” says Gary M. Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society. "This partnership can take these efforts to next level by combining the depth and breadth of cancer information from the world's most trusted cancer source with the power of cognitive technology from IBM Watson. It’s about providing the right information to the right people at the right time.”

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