Mark Kris Named Lead Physician, Memorial Sloan Kettering-IBM Watson Collaboration

Mark Kris

Medical oncologist Mark Kris


Memorial Sloan Kettering medical oncologist Mark Kris has been named the lead physician for the institution’s IBM Watson collaboration.

Medical oncologist Mark G. Kris has been named Lead Physician, Memorial Sloan Kettering-IBM Watson Collaboration.

Over the past year, Dr. Kris and colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering have worked with an IBM team to develop a powerful cancer resource built on the IBM Watson system that will provide medical professionals with improved access to current and comprehensive cancer data and practices. As Lead Physician of the Memorial Sloan Kettering-IBM Watson Collaboration, Dr. Kris will spearhead the effort to train the IBM Watson supercomputer to learn everything it can about cancer care and how Memorial Sloan Kettering experts use medical information and their experience in personalizing cancer treatments. This new decision-support tool will eventually help physicians everywhere create individualized cancer diagnostic and treatment recommendations for their patients.

Dr. Kris — who has stepped down as Chief of the Thoracic Oncology Service after serving in that role since 1990 — specializes in the care of people with cancers arising in the chest, including lung cancer, thymoma, mediastinal tumors, and cancers of unknown primary origin. He is also a researcher, with a particular interest in finding ways to select the best treatments for patients with cancers based on the molecular characteristics of tumors.


2 years ago I had my prostate removed due to cancer, and now my PSA is creeping up again, very slowly, but steadily. I haven't been getting many ideas in terms of treatment, and wondering what Watson might have in store.

Dear Dana, we are sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Watson for Oncology is not yet ready to provide treatment information for patients with prostate cancer. However, Memorial Sloan Kettering’s physicians are Watson’s teachers so even if we haven’t trained Watson for Oncology on a given cancer patients are welcome to schedule appointments, including for second opinions, at MSK. If you would like to make an appointment with one of our specialists to discuss possible next steps in your care, please call our Physician Referral Service at 800-525-2225. Thank you for reaching out to us.

I am advocating for a patient with GBM. She was diagnosed in January of 2016, had surgery on March 1, 2016 and began radiation and chemo treatment that month.

Her GBM is progressing at a faster rate than her oncologist expected.

As a retired IBM employee I have followed the development of the IBM Watson medical project and have requested that the oncologist consider any value it may provide. He has not shown an interest in taking any proactive initiative to utilize Watson's data mining capabilities, but is willing to provide any appropriate information and data.

Can you please guide me on how a patient with GBM can get access to information from the Watson project that may help in treatment?

As a member organization of the NYGC Watson collaboration, is this something MSK can help with? If so, can a patient self enroll and can work be done remotely, not requiring travel, which is difficult for the patient at this time,

Thank you for your comments and recommendations.

Mark Cohn

Dear Mark, MSK physicians are Watson’s teachers, so although Watson for Oncology trained by Memorial Sloan Kettering is not currently evaluating cases for patients with GBM, patients are welcome to schedule appointments, including for second opinions, at MSK by calling our Physician Referral Service at 800-525-2225. We are continuing to build support for additional cancers as part of our partnership with IBM Watson.

Unfortunately, we only offer medical records reviews and evaluations for international patients who live outside of the United States.

Thank you for reaching out to us.

I was wondering if Watson is involved with Amyloidosis treatments. I am an Amyloidosis patient at Sloan and just came across an article about Memorial Sloan Kettering and Watson collaboration

Dear Nancie, MSK’s physicians haven’t trained Watson to provide information on amyloidosis at this time. Thank you for reaching out to us.

I have metatastic stage 4 lung cancer; mucinous adenocarcinoma(original tumor and lower left lobe surgically removed Jan. 2016) There were no other signs of cancer at that point, and a subsequent biopsy showed no cancer in the lymph nodes.

I had 4 rounds of chemotherapy in the spring of 2016; a pet scan in July showed some new nodules in the left lung and a "spot" in the right lung, highly suspicious for malignancy and metastasis. That pet scan showed no other "hot spots" in any other organ.

I just finished 4 cycles of a different chemo mix and will have a pet scan this Friday. I feel I am running out of options. I have presented Watson Oncology to my oncologist here in Pittsfield Ma and also to my oncologist at Dana Farber in Boston. They seem to have no interest in pursuing this option. I want to leave no stone unturned in my fight against this cancer. Can you please help me? Is Watson being used for lung cancer patients?

Dear Robert, we are sorry to hear about your diagnosis. While we do not use Watson in our clinical practice, our physician experts are Watson’s teachers. The goal is to design a powerful resource that will support the broader oncology community of physicians as they consider treatment options with their patients, many of whom may not have access to a specialty center like MSK.

Patients are welcome to schedule appointments, including for second opinions, at MSK. If you are interested in making an appointment to consult with one of our specialists about possible next steps in your care, please call our Physician Referral Service at 800-525-2225. Thank you for reaching out to us.

Is Watson research available for stage IV Metastasized Breast Cancer?

Dear Joan, MSK’s experts are helping to train IBM Watson. They do not use IBM Watson in their diagnoses. If you are interested in how Watson is being used, and for which diseases, we recommend that you contact IBM. Thank you for your comment, and best wishes to you.

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