Partnership Seeks to Harness Technology to Improve Breast Cancer Outcomes

Noavrtis teams with IBM Watson supercomputer to advance insights into breast cancer treatment.

Novartis recently announced a partnership with IBM Watson Health to improve care and outcomes for patients with breast cancer.

Under the collaboration, the companies will develop a cognitive solution that integrates real-world data and analytical techniques to advance insights about potential outcomes for breast cancer treatment options, according to a press release.

Although increased understanding of breast cancer has led to more advanced treatments, novel drugs and real-world evidence can cause uncertainty about the best treatment route for each patient.

The new partnership will couple Novartis’ breast cancer portfolio with IBM Watson Health’s knowledge in analytics and machine learning to determine optimal treatments, according to the release.

Novartis reported that the collaboration will be focused on real-world data.

"Through this collaboration with IBM Watson Health, we will use real-world breast cancer data and cognitive computing to identify solutions that may help physicians better understand which therapy may be best for which patients or advise clinical practice guidelines, with the goal of improving patient outcomes and experiences," said Bruno Strigini, CEO, Novartis Oncology. "We hope this collaboration also uncovers care efficiencies that can be applied beyond breast cancer."

Watson is a cloud-based system that analyzes data and understands complex tasks to deliver evidence-based answers, according to the release.

Since Watson is constantly learning, it gains additional value and knowledge from each interaction. This feature will allow for continually improved responses and fine-tuned treatment approaches.

With the various drugs approved to treat subtypes of breast cancer, this collaboration seeks to end any variability in outcomes by providing patients with the best therapy.

"At Watson Health, we are tackling some of the world's greatest challenges at the nexus of science and data, and we are proud to work with Novartis to better individualize advanced breast cancer treatment approaches in an effort to enhance patient care," said Anil Jain, MD, chief medical informatics officer, IBM Watson Health. "As the industry shifts toward value-based care, it's critical for clinicians to understand the real-world outcomes of therapeutics on subsets of their patients, and our goal ultimately is to put those insights into oncologists' hands. With the deep expertise of Novartis in breast cancer, we are confident that this collaboration may provide transformative tools for clinicians and patients to make more informed treatment decisions."