IBM and Illumina Partner on Work to Standardize Genomic Data Interpretation

Jan. 10, 2017
IBM Watson Health and Illumina, Inc., a DNA sequencing and array-based technologies company, are partnering with the aim of helping cancer genomics researchers interpret the results of sequences.

IBM Watson Health and Illumina, Inc., a DNA sequencing and array-based technologies company, are partnering with the aim of helping cancer genomics researchers interpret the results of sequences.

As part of the partnership, IBM will integrate Watson for Genomics into Illumina’s BaseSpace Sequence Hub and tumor sequencing process. The collaboration is designed to help standardize and simplify genomic data interpretation. Genome sequencing has increased in recent years following two decades of research demonstrating the promise of precision medicine. However, access to these advances has been limited by the significant time and expense required to interpret the genomic data.

According to an IBM press release, by adding Watson for Genomics to Illumina’s next-generation sequencing platform, researchers who use Illumina’s cancer genome sequencing panel will have rapid access to information to help interpret the broad array of variant data produced by TruSight Tumor 170.  Illumina’s TruSight Tumor 170 is a solid tumor profiling panel designed to detect a comprehensive set of variants across 170 genes.

Through the technology integration, Watson for Genomics will read the genetic alteration files produced by TruSight Tumor 170, comb professional guidelines, medical literature, clinical trials compendia, and other sources of knowledge to provide information for each genomic alteration, and produce a report for use by researchers—a process that typically takes scientists more than one week to complete. Watson for Genomics ingests data from approximately 10,000 scientific articles and 100 new clinical trials every month.

The Watson for Genomics software will be available to support Illumina’s TruSight Tumor 170 assay early in 2017. The Watson service is not yet available for diagnostic use and is for research use only.

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