Nowadays, almost all industrial sectors use modelling and simulation to develop and de-risk new products, but this is not the case in the healthcare sector. Why?
The limited adoption of in silico technologies in healthcare is justified with the arguments that the human body is excessively complex to be modelled, and that for many physiological and pathological processes of interest the causal and quantitative knowledge required to build mechanistic computer models is lacking.
Nevertheless, many years ago, researchers all around the world started to develop models able to predict changes in the health status of an individual patient, eventually showing that there was indeed enough knowledge to build accurate models, and that the resulting complexity could be tamed with the flexibility of modern modelling technologies, and the huge computational power now available.
In silico medicine is now a fast-growing research field with a multidisciplinary, cross-cultural approach that benefits from the contribution of experts from very large institutions.
If we consider the end-users, we can divide In silico medicine in three sub-domains:
- Digital Patient solutions, where the user is the medical professional
- Personal Health Forecasting solutions, where the user is the patient
- In Silico Trials, where the end user is the biomedical industry.
The In Silico World project focuses its attention on In Silico Trials, defined as the use of modelling and simulation to assess the safety and efficacy of any medical product.
The In Silico World consortium had identified seven barriers that are slowing down the wider adoption of In Silico Trials:
1. Lack of advanced models
2. Lack of independent validation collections
3. No clear regulatory pathways
4. Poorly informed stakeholders
5. Poor scalability and efficiency
6. Lack of trained workforce
7. Lack of business models