The five-year, $50 million project will study thousands of drug-resistant tumors
IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence platform has joined forces with researchers at MIT and Harvard to study how thousands of cancers mutate to become resistant to drug treatments that initially worked to beat back the disease.
By discovering how cancers adapt to overcome drug therapies, researchers at MIT’s and Harvard’s Broad Institute genomics research center hope to develop a new generation of therapies that cancers cannot circumvent.
While a growing number of treatments can hold cancers in check for months or years, most cancers eventually recur, according to the Broad Institute researchers. This is in part because tumors acquire mutations that make them drug resistant.
That cancer drug resistance is a major cause of nearly 600,000 annual deaths in the U.S. alone, according to Eric Lander, the founding director of the Broad Institute. While scientists have discovered the cause of drug resistance in a small number of cancer cases, which has led to the development of new, successful treatments, most cases are not fully understood.
The new five-year, $50 million genome project will study thousands of drug resistant tumors and draw on Watson’s computational and machine learning methods to help researchers understand how cancers become resistant to therapies.
The study’s funding will come from IBM.