It is estimated that number of people living with cancer in India is around 2.5 million. Every year, over 7 lakh cancer patients get registered in hospitals, and annually over 5 lakh people die of this disease, according to Cancerindia.org.
According to a report published by the World Health Organization, India – there are an estimated 9. 49 lakh new cancer cases in India annually, accounting for more than 6.34 lakh deaths related to cancer each year. Also, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) there will be close to 17.3 lakh cancer cases likely to be reported in India by 2020, accounting for more than 8.8 lakh estimated number of deaths by 2020. These are dismal figures. The health care system in India needs to gear up to deal with cancer, which has gone through an explosion in the sub-continent. That is where IBM Watson, the cognitive computing platform comes into play.
IBM Health, which has been driving its two computing platforms IBM Watson for Oncology and IBM Watson for Genomics, has been working with leading hospitals in Bangalore to find solution for this disease. Manipal Hospitals in Bangalore was the first healthcare facility in the country to adopt IBM Watson for Oncology. It was to enable oncologists provide cancer patients with more individualised care based on data collated from other evidence-based treatments globally. More than 200,000 cancer patients are treated in the hospital. Prof. Dr. S.P. Somashekhar, Chairman, Manipal Comprehensive Cancer Center, Manipal Hospitals, in his presentation about the impact of IBM Watson for Oncology in the hospital’s treatment of cancer patients, said that doctors at Manipal Hospitals found that Watson was concordant with the tumor board recommendations in 90 percent of breast cancer cases. This was done in a double-blinded study.
IBM Health is now working with Apollo Hospitals in Bangalore for IBM Watson for Genomics. The hospital has adopted the platform along with IBM Watson for Oncology to help the doctors work out specific and data-driven specific cancer care. In fact, Apollo Hospitals becomes the first one in India to adopt IBM Watson for Genomics. “Each person’s cancer journey is unique and hence each patient’s treatment plan must be unique too. IBM Watson for Oncology and Genomics will help the clinicians and oncologists at Apollo Hospitals augment their own expertise to deliver an unparalleled and personalized patient care across our hospitals,” explained Preetha Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group.
So how will this help the oncologists at Apollo Hospitals?
According to the company, IBM Watson for Genomics analyses massive bodies of genomic, clinical and pharmacological knowledge to work out potential therapeutic options to target genetic alterations in a patient’s tumour. “Using this genomic analysis, Watson produces a report for physicians, which identifies genetic alterations that are actionable based on literature as well as drugs and clinical trials. Watson for Genomics has been tested and validated at more than 20 leading cancer institutes worldwide. By using IBM Watson for Oncology and Watson for Genomics the physicians at Apollo Hospitals will be empowered with efficient, data-driven insights for improved evidence-based care to give physicians more time to focus on their patients,” explained Lisa Rometty, General Manager of Oncology, Genomics and Life Sciences, IBM Watson”
Going forward, Apollo Hospitals will implement Watson for Oncology and Watson for Genomics across ten of its 64 hospitals. Watson for Oncology is available at the Apollo Chennai and Delhi hospital from April 2018, followed by Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar and Madurai over the next few months. Watson for Genomics will become available across the same locations in the coming months.