Microsoft promises to cure cancer in the next 10 years

US tech giant says it will treat the disease like a computer virus

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File photo: Pat Sullivan/AP/Press Association Images

Microsoft says that it will cure cancer during the next decade as it works on technology to fight the disease like a computer virus.

Its new programme is using artificial intelligence to identify cancerous cells and reprogram or eliminate them to cure the disease.

The firm hopes that machine learning and natural language processing to sift through research data on a scale that has never been done before - ultimately its “biological computation” unit hopes to come up with a treatment plan for cancer patients.

In the shorter term, it hopes to use big data to develop new treatments for cancer patients.

IBM is working on a similar project called Watson Oncology which focuses on using patient's’ health information and research data to work towards a cure.

"The complex processes that happen in cells have some similarity to those that happen in a standard desktop computer," said Chris Bishop, head of Microsoft Research’s Cambridge-based lab.

Microsoft said that advances in cloud computing have made this ‘moon-shot’ project possible.

The corporate vice-president of Microsoft Research expalined: "If the computers of the future are not going to be made just in silicon but might be made in living matter, it behooves us to make sure we understand what it means to program on those computers."