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Osteoporosis: patients "enter" the VPHOP European Project coordinated by the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute

28 October 2010

Sixty women between 60 and 85 years of age were selected for the clinical application of the so-called “hyper-model”, a model of the human body personalized for each patient that will be able to simulate interaction between “physiological events” starting from the macrostructure of the human body up to molecular level. This passage signs the third year of activity of the European Project Osteoporotic Virtual Physiological Human (VPHOP), coordinated by the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute in Bologna.

“Together with our 19 European partners the approach towards osteoporosis  - explains Marco Viceconti, Chief of the Technical-Scientific Section at the Rizzoli Medical Technology Laboratory and VPHOP coordinator – opens new roads to “tailored” medicine. All patient data are included in a single computerized model, that can predict with a high degree of accuracy the risk of fracture. But not only: the model should also predict the effects different treatment options will have on patients, thus giving the physician the best option for the specific case. VPHOP develops technologies at the base of this hyper-model and now attempts to establish, by involving patients, the best modalities for its clinical application.”

Eligible patients - amongst the 6000 patients with certain clinical parameters seen at the Rizzoli Bone Densitometry Outpatient Clinic each year – are tested and examined by a neuromotor test that consists in wearing an Actibelt for a week, an innovative belt, developed in the two years of the VPHOP Research Project, that can monitor the wearer’s level of physical activity. Patients are followed for a year: to assess the presence of new fractures, with the help of a “diary that registers falls”. The protocol was approved by the Rizzoli Ethical Committee.

Fracture risk “prediction” will be performed using a supercomputer, amongst the most powerful in Italy, equivalent to 2500 personal computers, supplied to VPHOP by the leading Italian super-computing center CINECA.

Results of the experiment will be combined with those obtained in other centers involved in the project, Geneva University, Medical University in Berlin, and the National Institute for Health and Medical Research in France.

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