| by
Virtual Whole Body Simulations for Personalized Healthcare The virtual physiological human (VPH) initiative is another project that is related to NeuGrid. Researchers are aiming to develop better computer simulations of the human body. This could potentially allow for personalized medicine, with tailored therapies for each individual.

There is a ton promising biotechnology in the pipeline that has really taken a long time to come to fruition. I think there has been considerable difficulty in translating the research of stem cells, gene therapy and rna interference into approvable therapies. With pharmaceutical drugs, much of the low hanging fruit has already been picked. New drug approvals for 2009 were flat compared to previous years, even though we probably know more about human biochemistry than ever before. Gene therapy has been around for a long time, but just hasn't yet panned out too well in the way of usable treatments. A main problem is that it can be tough to perform successful clinical trials. A lot of diseases are multi-faceted as well, which adds another layer of complexity. So in the short term I think it may become even more difficult to get an FDA nod for specific treatments. However, in the long term I am optimistic that computer simulations of the human body could speed up the approval process.

Below are a few of the goals of this extensive undertaking.
a) Development of patient-specific computer based models and simulation of the physiology of human organs and pathologies.

b) Development of ICT tools, services and specialized infrastructure for the biomedical researchers to support at least two of the following three activities: i) to share data and knowledge needed for a new integrative research approach in medicine (biomedical informatics), ii) to share or jointly develop multiscale models and simulators, iii) to create collaborative environments supporting this highly multidisciplinary field.
Under the umbrella of the VPH initiative there are many specific projects that scientists are working on.
The SurgAid project has been conceived to develop and apply new methods for diagnosis and support in mitral valve (MV) surgery repair procedures, based on the combined analysis and integration of the FEM approach with the advanced processing of real-time 3D echocardiographic images.
Cancer is another area that could witness improvements in outcomes.
HAMAM – Highly Accurate Breast Cancer Diagnosis through Integration of Biological Knowledge, Novel Imaging Modalities, and Modelling - is a three year project that started in September 2008.
The above information comes from a recent newsletter january (2010) (PDF). Another newsletter from last year discusses a little more about the project (see PDF file). Basically they mention that we need more computing power.
PCs has been advancing steadily since decades, but even the most recent central processing units (CPUs) are far from being able to follow the dynamics of an average protein, with atomic detail, for milli- or even microseconds of simulated time: this is the “scale gap” between the molecular and the biological macroscales. The mission of GPUGRID at IMIM, part of the VPH NoE Toolkit, is to provide members of the VPH with the tools to bridge this gap.
A roadmap of the VPH can be found here (PDF). Another article on it can be found here.

Grid computing and health (PDF)


Add a Comment Virtual Whole Body Simulations for Personalized Healthcare