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Bleeding Edge

by Mike Masnick




Rapid Prototyping Your Health

from the the-doctor-won't-see-you-now dept

Rapid prototyping is pretty popular in a variety of industrial businesses, but how about medicine? Some researchers are trying to build a system that will take some samples from you, do a body scan, and create a virtual you, which can then be examined in much more detail than the real you to find out what ails you. Even better, once a problem is diagnosed, they can use your "sim" to test out a bunch of different treatments. This way, not only can they try to find one that won't, well, kill you, but hopefully find the one that you're most likely to respond best to. Of course, some will wonder how accurate the sim is going to be compared to the actual you ("well, my sim may not be allergic to that medicine, but I am...."). However, as the article points out this could impact drug development in a major way as well. If the prototyped people are quite accurate, then it could make clinical testing of drugs much cheaper, much faster and much more accurate. That could absolutely revolutionize the drug market, since the biggest expense in developing drugs is always the clinical trial process.

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  • identicon
    dorpus, 11 Feb 2005 @ 5:35pm

    Heh, not likely

    Medical science continues to have a very poor understanding of the intricacies of human gene-environment interactions, gene-gene interactions, the random fluctuations of the immune system, among other things. We still don't even know how many genes we have, or what all the alleles are. A "virtual" patient amounts to a mere collection of the current knowledge. In a (very) optimistic scenario, it may shave about 1% of total time or costs from a clinical trial.

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