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Biden’s Cancer ‘Moonshot’ Summit: World’s Smartest Computer to Help Treat 10,000 Veterans with Cancer

Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden

Washington, DC, June 30, 2016 ― Laura McGinley reported in The Washington Post that IBM’s supercomputer Watson, known for its “Jeopardy” prowess, is teaming up with the Department of Veterans Affairs in a bid to revolutionize cancer care for veterans.

Under the IBM-VA partnership, Watson technology will be provided free for two years to the VA’s precision-oncology program.  The artificial intelligence system will analyze genomic information, pinpoint cancer-causing mutations and help identify potential treatments for as many as 10,000 patients.

The IBM-VA partnership is one of dozens of initiatives being that was announced Wednesday as part of Vice President Biden’s all-day cancer summit at Howard University in Washington.

Other efforts aim to sharply increase the number of patients in clinical trials, harness the government’s computing power to pave the way for better “precision medicine” therapies and rejigger the way the Food and Drug Administration approves cancer-related products.

More than 350 researchers, oncologists, data experts, patients and others were to take part in Washington, with an additional 6,000 signed up for 270 regional summits around the country, according to Biden’s office.

Participants were to spend much of their time trying to develop ideas to accelerate progress against the disease—  the goal of the “cancer moonshot” effort announced by President Obama earlier this year.

The event at Howard University has the added star power of emcee Carol Burnett, whose daughter Carrie died 14 years ago of cancer.  The actress said her “heart soared” when President Obama announced the moonshot effort, and she called Biden immediately to offer her help.

Biden, in his opening remarks, said that “we can make exponential progress” in the fight against cancer, giving people with the disease a chance to survive longer and live better, and perhaps see a child graduate from college or get married. “Time matters, days matter, minutes matter,” he said.

For McGinley’s full Washington Post story, click here.