In Silico World is a grass-root initiative driven by the In Silico Medicine group at the University of Bologna, Italy, led by Prof Marco Viceconti.
In 2016 the European Parliament made a very clear recommendation to the European Medicine Agency:
“The Agency shall develop a framework for the regulatory acceptance of alternative models and shall take into consideration the opportunities presented by these new concepts which aim at providing for more predictive medicines. These concepts may be based on human relevant computer or cellular models, pathways of toxicity, or adverse outcome pathways.”
This initiative started in late 2019, when it became evident that – three years after the EMA recommendation – the level of adoption of in silico trials by the biomedical industry was still very low.
Why in silico trials are still poorly used in the biomedical industry?
This radical innovation has a huge potential to cut costs, shorten time-to-market, and address ethical concerns about animal and human experimentation, but it also presents some barriers preventing its adoption:
– Lack of trained workforce. Companies who are ready to invest in in silico trials are facing a severe shortage of properly trained specialists. Most curricula in biomedical engineering related university degrees cover only a few aspects of in silico trials, if any. The few experts around the world are all self-taught. New trained specialists should be introduced among the staff of regulatory agencies, Contract Research Organisations, research hospitals, simulation software companies, etc. → See our education and training programmes
– Lack of engagement. The adoption of in silico trials is a disruptive change and, like all major changes, it will encounter some resistance. To overcome this resistance, it is crucial to recognise that piercing the veil is now more important than consolidating each other competitive advantage. Much better to be small fishes in a big pod, than vice versa. All practitioners must exchange information, best practices, tricks of trade, and anything else that can make the use of in silico trials an accepted practice. We need to establish a Community of Practice, coordinate our communication efforts, share news, learn from each other. → Join our community
– Practice. We need to collaboratively develop Good Simulation Practices, including approaches to improve scalability and computational efficiency of in silico trials solutions.
In Silico World aims to address all these aspects by catalysing all the energies available in our community, and focusing them toward these specific goals.