In silico medicine
To perform clinical trials in virtual bodies or In silico medicine, the use of computer-based technologies – systems, algorithms, data – to model, simulate or visualize biological and medical processes, was one of the proposed solutions.
A few years ago, Harvard University’s Wyss Institute
In Europe, the In Silico Oncology Group had developed an experimental platform and an advanced medical decision support tool called Oncosimulator to improve cancer treatment. The Oncosimulator is an integrated software system whereby it virtually mimics the responses of a
With artificial intelligence (AI), some of these simulations, especially those concerning drug development, could answer
Are we solving the fundamentals?
In terms of regulation, the US’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already planned for a possible future whereby over half of the clinical trials data are coming from computer simulations. However, a commentary, co-written by experts from Harvard School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, University of Toronto, and Microsoft Research, published
Primarily, clinical data are still in a mess and there is not sufficient actionable data to train and test an algorithm, let alone building virtual human bodies that best represent a comprehensive group of patients. At the same time, it is hard to deduce if the new drug or medical procedure that had passed the virtual clinical trial, could account for any possible unknown. Ultimately, who is going to be liable, shall the new drug or medical procedure suffer some wrongdoings which endanger patients?
Most importantly, both AI and in silico medicine are still at their infancy. Whilst they show potential in solving existing problems, it remain unclear if new problems may emerge.
A science writer with data background and an interest in the current affair, culture,