Updated on 21 September 2015
ICON will tap Watson's cognitive computing power to help automate clinical trial
Singapore: Clinical research organization, ICON, has collaborated with IBM to help reduce the time and costs of drug development, while also offering patients enhanced quality of care by connecting them to relevant clinical trials.
ICON will tap Watson's cognitive computing power to help automate the cumbersome process of identifying patients who meet the criteria for a clinical trial, and to analyse protocols to assess trial feasibility and identify optimal trial sites.
Watson is a computing system that delivers through the cloud, analyzes high volumes of data, understands complex questions posed in natural language, and proposes evidence-based answers.
Initially, ICON is applying Watson Clinical Trial Matching to its breast, lung, colon and rectal cancer trials. The solution enables ICON to advise sponsors how many patients match their trial criteria, where they are located and how they will recruit them. IBM's Watson Health Cloud will facilitate access to de-identified patient data, including 50 million patient records contained in the data set from Explorys, which IBM acquired in April. At the same time, ICON enhances IBM Watson's capabilities by providing expertise into clinical trial protocols and clinical operations.
The cost and time involved in clinical trials is considerable. More than USD1.3 billion is spent on patient recruitment by drug developers each year and yet fewer than 5 percent of cancer patients participate in a clinical trial. It also typically takes 6-12 months to start up a global phase III drug trial and another 12 months to enroll the required number of patients.