The document, written by the Superior Health Council, is the result of the work of some of the leading experts of in Silico medicine in Italy. It aims to present its strengths and to allow faster adoption in the National Health System.
Just as the study on living organisms is called in vivo and in cell cultures is called in vitro, by analogy the term in silico describes the modeling, simulation and visualization of biological and medical processes in computers, referring to the silicon used in microprocessors.
In Silico Medicine uses these technologies to create computer models that predict an enormous amount of data that is difficult to measure in the individual patient, allowing the doctor to make the best possible decision (medical decision support for a single patient or Digital Twin) or to ensure the safety and efficacy of new medical products, reducing the use of animal and human experimentation (In Silico Trials).
The document recently published by the Superior Health Council recognizes in these technologies the possibility of disruptive innovation, with advantages in terms of quality of care but also economic benefits: the Digital Twin technologies alone could allow savings of over 30% on the cost of solutions of advanced medicine, while the In Silico Trials experimentation technologies could reduce the development cost and regulatory evaluation by an average of 150 million Euros for a new drug.
These opportunities can be seized provided that efforts are made to create the conditions for rapid adoption of in silico technologies.
The document published by the Council analyzes both the current barriers to adoption and lists the recommendations and steps that experts believe are necessary to start the adoption process, including:
- Creation of suitable infrastructures for example for high-performance computing;
- Development of pre-competitive public-private partnerships around in silico technologies;
- Possibility of secondary use for research and innovation purposes of clinical data in digital
format, in compliance with the laws on privacy and ownership of health data.
“The recent pandemic has shown how in silico methods can accelerate the development of new drugs and personalize therapeutic processes. We must accelerate the adoption of these technologies, working to lower all the barriers that slow down this process. Projects like In Silico World have exactly this mission” – explains Prof. Marco Viceconti, co-author of the document and coordinator of the EU-funded In Silico World project.
In silico technologies can ultimately respond to the increased demand for care with a moderate increase in spending, helping to reduce geographic, wealth, and urbanization inhomogeneities, and promoting more effective management of chronic diseases.
More details on the document and the working group (in Italian)