In what could be described as a world’s first, doctors in Japan relied on artificial intelligence to help diagnose a woman who was suffering from a rare form of leukemia. The patient was initially treated for acute myeloid leukemia, but her recovery from post-remission therapy was slow, which is when doctors decided that the initial diagnosis could have been wrong.
This is when they turned to IBM’s Watson to help them with their case. As the computer has tens of millions of papers on oncology and data on leukemia made available by research institutes, it was able to cross-check the data of the patient against that of what was stored on its servers, which led Watson being able to provide analysis that led to the doctors to conclude that the patient was suffering from a rare form of leukemia.
According to Arinobu Tojo, professor of molecular therapy at a hospital affiliated to the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science, “This patient had mutations in more than 1,000 genes, but many of them were not related to her disease and they were just hereditary characteristics she had inherited from her parents. While it would have taken about two weeks for human scientists to check which of the 1,000 changes were diagnostically important or not, Watson did it in 10 minutes.”