A.I. Platform Helped Enroll More Breast Cancer Patients in Clinical Trials at Mayo Clinic, Study Suggests

A.I. Platform Helped Enroll More Breast Cancer Patients in Clinical Trials at Mayo Clinic, Study Suggests

The use of artificial intelligence (A.I.) in a clinical trial matching platform led to more patients being enrolled in breast cancer studies, a Mayo Clinic oncology practice suggests.

The enrollment increase is a result of IBM Watson Health’s Watson for Clinical Trial Matching, an IBM A.I. cognitive computing system designed to match patients to the clinical trials for which they might be eligible.

Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, has been using the Clinical Trial Matching platform since 2016 in its breast cancer oncology practice. Other oncology disciplines also used the A.I. program.

In less than one year, there was an average 80 percent increase in enrollment to Mayo Clinic’s breast cancer clinical trials testing investigative therapies. The time it takes to screen an individual patient for trial matches also decreased compared to traditional manual methods.

“This has enabled all patients to be screened for all available clinical trial opportunities,” Tufia Haddad, MD, a Mayo Clinic oncologist and physician leader for the Watson for Clinical Trial Matching project, said in a press release.

“The speed and accuracy of Watson and the team of screening coordinators allow our physicians to efficiently develop treatment plans for patients that reflect the full range of options available to support their care,” Haddad said.

With these positive results, Mayo Clinic and IBM Watson Health signed an agreement to extend and expand training and use of the system. So far, the Watson A.I. system is trained to support trial-matching for breast, lung, and gastrointestinal cancers.

Clinical trials offer patients access to new and emerging therapies that have shown promise. However, matching and enrolling patients is a time-consuming and manual process.

Only 5 percent of patients with cancer participate in clinical trials in the U.S. In addition to keeping patients from potentially receiving new and effective treatments, low enrollment also delays the completion of clinical studies, impacting the discovery of potentially life-saving therapies.

“Novel solutions are necessary to address this unmet clinical need, advance cancer research and treatments, and, in turn, improve the health outcomes of patients,” Haddad said.

As part of the recently signed agreement, IBM Watson Health and Mayo Clinic will continue to develop the A.I. system to include trials for other types of cancer and aspects of cancer care beyond medical therapies, like radiation, surgery, and supportive care.

Click here to watch a video explaining how the Watson for Clinical Trial Matching works.