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Brainstorm Health: AI In Health Care, ESMO Cancer Data, IBM Departure

Happy Monday, readers. I hope you had a wonderful weekend—This is Sy.

This morning, Fortune released a list that should prove catnip for Brainstorm Health Daily readers: 25 Ways A.I. Is Changing Business. The industries piling on to the artificial intelligence bandwagon range from financial services to manufacturing to food safety to, yes, health care.

Renowned physician Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, introduces that latter section. “It’s still early in the integration of A.I. into medical practice, with far more hype than validation. But it’s our best shot to deal with all of the formidable challenges: to use the wealth of data to reduce errors and waste, and the gift of time to markedly improve the clinician-patient relationship,” he writes.

My colleague Erika Fry and I follow up with a few more examples of health care firms such as Google’s DeepMind, Arterys, BERG, Virta Health, and others using this newfangled tech to change the business of medicine—whether by tackling drug development, disease management, diagnostics, or myriad other fields. You can explore some of those companies here.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


IBM Watson Health head DiSanzo steps down. A big shakeup in the IBM Watson Health world—Deborah DiSanzo, who has led the division for three years, is reportedly stepping out of the role, according to STAT News, following scrutiny of the unit’s early performance. Her successor, at least in the meantime, will be John Kelly, senior vice president for Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research, while DiSanzo heads over to IBM Cognitive Solutions. “John Kelly will continue leading Watson Health as we continue to grow and scale this successful business,” IBM said in a statement. (STAT News)


Some updates from Europe’s big cancer conference. A slew of new cancer drug data was unveiled at the European Society for Medical Oncology’s annual meeting over the weekend. A brief snapshot: Roche stock rose modestly after the Swiss giant’s central new immunotherapy drug, Tecentriq, showed promise in boosting lung cancer patients’ lifespans (though the treatment still heavily trails Merck’s Keytruda in the lung cancer space); Novartis’ experimental therapy alpelisib, combined with another drug, reduced death risk in certain breast cancer patients by 35%, potentially setting up conversations with regulators about approval; and Pfizer presented some mixed data on a combo trial of its blockbuster breast cancer treatment Ibrance.


The supplement industry is ignoring the FDA’s warnings. A new study published in the journal JAMA finds that, despite public Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warnings against them, experimental (and illegal) stimulants remain in a variety of dietary supplements. “The FDA uses a variety of enforcement actions, including public notices, to remove potentially hazardous ingredients. However, it is not known whether public notices are effective,” wrote the study authors. “We explored the effectiveness of the FDA’s public notices issued between 2013 and 2016 targeting prohibited sympathomimetic stimulants in supplements.” (Wall Street Journal)


Why A.I. Is Business’s Next Frontierby Clifton Leaf

The Four Waves of Kai-Fu Lee

Why Teaching Computers Emotional Intelligence Is Importantby Verne Kopytoff

The New Attack on Transgender Rightsby Ellen McGirt

Produced by Sy Mukherjee

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