About the Project
Life can be seen as a highly complex computation, carried out in every cell, through signals between cells and though interactions between tissue, a computation, which determines, if we are sick or healthy, if we live or die. Therapies affect this ʻcalculationʼ, sometimes for the better, too often for the worse. Patients with supposedly similar diseases often respond very differently to the best therapies availably, with average response rates of less than 30 % for oncology.
Medicine approaches this unavoidable complexity with statistics. Clinical trials on supposedly similar patients are used to identify a ʻfirst line treatmentʼ, or to test biomarkers, to subdivide the patient population further (with often still quite moderate success).
Based on the fantastic improvements in analytical (-omics) techniques, the rapidly increasing knowledge on biological mechanisms e.g. in cancer and the enormous improvements in computing resources, we propose to develop a radically new approach to medicine, the development of integrated molecular/physiological/anatomical models of every individual in the healthcare system, based on extensive –omics, imaging and sensor data as basis for a truly personalised therapy and prevention.
In this we follow the precedent in almost all other human endeavours: procedures on complex, hard to predict systems, with potentially dangerous and/or expensive consequences are almost always first modelled on a computer, to improve the quality of the decisions, to eliminate unnecessary risks and/or to cut costs. Such a model based personalised medicine and prevention would have dramatic consequences for us all, as (future) patients (one in three in Europa will get Cancer, one on four will die of it), but also as citizens and taxpayers, due to the large costs of maintaining an ineffective healthcare system in an ageing society, and the enormous chances for Europa in this revolution of healthcare and drug development. .
The modelling of individual patients in sufficient detail to predict effects and side effects of drugs on individual patients is an enourmous, interdicisplinary challenge, which can only be approached sensibly by programs of the scale of a flagship project. ITFoM unites the best groups in and outside of Europa in medicine, analytics, hard- and software, algorithm development and statistics and systems biology, uniting many of the best minds of the world, to solve a world class problem.
ITFoM pilot phase (May 2011 - April 2012)
View our prezi "How to build a virtual patient", shown at the FET Flagship Midterm Conference (Warsaw, 24+25 November 2011)
For further information, please have a look at some of our presentations held at the "fet11 - The European Future Technologies Conference and Exhibition":