Mayo Clinic sees 80% increase in breast cancer clinical trial enrollment after IBM Watson deployment

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An artificial intelligence system increased clinical trial enrollment among breast cancer patients at Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic, according to an abstract presented June 2 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Mayo Clinic implemented IBM's Watson for Clinical Trial Matching in July 2016. The cognitive computing system uses natural language processing to extract information about tumor attributes from text in EHRs to match patients with eligibility criteria in relevant clinical trials.

To assess the CTM system, a research team led by a Mayo Clinic medical oncologist compared clinical trial enrollment at one of the health system's breast oncology practices prior to Watson for CTM's implementation with enrollment after July 2016. All patients matched to clinical trials by IBM Watson were validated by a screening coordinator team at Mayo Clinic.

The researchers found the average monthly clinical trial enrollment among breast cancer patients increased by 80 percent during the 18-month period following the system's deployment, with 6.3 patients per month enrolled in systemic therapy trials, compared with 3.5 patients in the period prior.

"The system enabled high volume screening in an efficient manner and promoted awareness of clinical trial opportunities within the breast oncology practice," the research team concluded.

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