Computer processing has become an important tool for diagnosing and treating cancer. The idea is that with personalized treatments coming into a clinical setting, rapid analysis of a patient’s data becomes more crucial. The same applies to research in finding more cures for cancer.
In that spirit, IBM’s Watson Health division is joining forces with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use blockchain processing to rapidly analyze and exchange patient data. This processing will be done across a variety of platforms, ranging from centralized services to handheld devices used by health care providers and medical researchers.
Blockchain imagines data as a series of blocks, which cannot be altered, but which are associated with other blocks, hence the name. Each block has a timestamp which distinguishes it from previous versions to which it can also be related via a chain. Patients will thus be more able to share their data with healthcare providers and researchers.
The progress and dimension of a cancer often depends on the patient’s individual genetic makeup. That is one reason why researchers are developing targeted therapies in preference to one-size-fits-all treatments that have been the mainstay of oncology for decades. But for that approach to work properly, a lot of computer power must be brought to bear to match a patient to the appropriate, individualized treatment regimen that has the best chance to send his or her cancer into remission. Researchers will be able to rapidly and develop such procedures and test them, finding the best ones that can be taken to market in less time than has hitherto been the case.
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