Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Collaboration with IBM Watson Featured on CBS This Morning

Pictured: Mark Kris

Thoracic Oncology Service Chief Mark Kris

The Tuesday, July 9, episode of CBS This Morning included a segment about a new tool to help improve medical decision making, built on the supercomputer IBM Watson. Mark G. Kris, Chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Thoracic Oncology Service, and Carol Jaxel, one of Dr. Kris’s patients, were interviewed about the benefits this new technology can bring to cancer care.

Dr. Kris and a team of physicians and analysts at Memorial Sloan Kettering have been “training” IBM Watson for more than a year to help medical professionals choose the best diagnostic and treatment plans for individual cancer patients. The system is based on a vast amount of clinical data and research as well as wisdom gleaned from decades of expertise in treating cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

One of the goals of this project is to improve the quality of care delivered to people with cancer no matter where they are located. The need for the new technology arises from the increasing complexity of cancer treatment and the fact that most cancer patients are not treated at specialized medical centers.

IBM Watson, which became famous after its appearance on the TV game show Jeopardy! in 2011, when it beat two all-time champions, is capable of learning with every encounter, continually getting smarter.

Watch the CBS This Morning segment.


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Train the computer to do the job of a doctor, and in time computers will REPLACE doctors. Your IBM computer will get "smarter" than doctors, and it will claim the authority in medical decision making in due time. We have robots in the OR already - Da Vinci ROBOTIC SURGERY. In the future human beings will have to fight with man made artificial intelligance to win back their humanness. You are welcoming artificial intelligence and arificial beings in the SACRED space of human BEINGS. Read this as an illustration of what is expecting us here, and think twice before welcoming robots into our human lives.
We are what we do!

MSKCC's work with IBM/Watson is truly world changing in incredibly positive ways. As with any better tool, as it improves quality and efficiency, some will need to adapt to take full advantage. Those who do will be the leaders of our future in medicine. We need to communicate to all audiences to best set the stage for optimum use of this new tool.

What has been your experience with Ovarian cancer for sequencing and matching in the Watson
data base? I am most anxious to hear from you.
Many thanks.
gloria appel

Dear Gloria, the IBM-Watson work with ovarian cancer is still in the early stages, but patients at MSK who have advanced cancer, including ovarian cancer, can undergo sequencing with a platform called MSK-IMPACT. Those who are found to have what we call actionable mutations — meaning that we have drugs to target them — have the opportunity to enroll in clinical trials called basket trials.

To learn more about MSK-IMPACT, you can go to:…

To learn more about basket trials, you can go to:…

Thank you for your comment.

Does the program support multiple myeloma at this time, in particular data to assist with treatment options upon relapse after having achieved CR with intitial therapy? Thank you.

Dear Steve, Watson for Oncology trained by Memorial Sloan Kettering is not currently set up to handle cases for patients with multiple myeloma. Thank you for your comment.

My husband had a Whipple 4 1/2 years ago for Apulla of Vater carcinoma. Now he has Mets to his pancreas and liver. Are there any sequencing programs for these areas? Thank you.

Dear Teresa, we’re sorry to hear about your husband’s diagnosis. If he would like to make an appointment at MSK to learn more about his treatment options, including the possibility of having his tumors sequenced with MSK-IMPACT, you can call 800-525-2225 or go to for more information. Thank you for your comment, and best wishes to you.

My mother has been diagnosed with cancerous tumors about 4cm's in the pancreas. We've been to Mass General and due to the tumors being close to the blood vessels surgery is not an option. They also say chemo may help but will not do much are there any other treatments available?