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In Silico Medicine



The research group, led by Prof. Marco Viceconti, focuses on In Silico Medicine, which involves the adoption of personalized computational models to support medical decisions and/or to assess the safety and efficacy of new medical products.

The activities mainly focus on applications related to the diagnosis and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal diseases, such as: 

  • Osteoarticular diseases: Finite element models are used to evaluate mechanical strength and risk of failure in bones (e.g., femur and vertebrae) under phisiological and/or phatological conditions (e.g., osteoporosis). Computational models are also used to predict and study implant failures (e.g., wear in hip and knee implants). Ongoing projects:
    • BoneStrength (self-funded), aims to complete the development of the CT2S technology, extend its validation from the femur to the spine (including metastatic vertebrae), and qualify it with EMA
    • IST4THR (self-funded), aims to develop in the long term a complete solution for in silico trials of total hip replacement medical devices
    • COMPBIOMED (H2020), aims to scale up to HPC level in silico medicine applications, with a focus on MSK models
  • Neuromuscular diseases: Computational models based on multibody dynamic systems are used to study the effect of musculoskeletal diseases (e.g., Parkinson and Sarcopenia) on motor control. Ongoing projects:  
    • MOBILISE-D (H2020), aims to qualify the average real-world walking speed, as measured with wearable sensors, as the main mobility biomarker in drug trials
    • ForceLoss (RF2020), aims to develop, validate, and qualify subject-specific models of musculoskeletal dynamics as diagnostic and monitoring clinical tools.

Examples of subject-specific finite element models of the femur (left) and musculoskeletal dynamics model (right)

Translation research is conducted on:

  • Computational model verification and validation and regulatory science related to the adoption of these new technologies in clinical practice. Ongoing projects:
    • STRITUVAD (H2020), aims to develop an in silico trial for tuberculosis therapies
    • MOBILISE-D (H2020) 
  • Scalability and multiscale model orchestration. Ongoing projects: 
    • PRIMAGE (H2020), aims at developing a technology for the orchestration of in silico medicine models
    • COMPBIOMED2 (H2020).

Also, different networking and community building initiatives are carried out to promote the wider adoption of in silico medicine. These include:

  • InSilicoWorld, the first international online community for experts, researchers and professionals in the field of in silico medicine. The community hosts a discussion forum that collaboratively agreed on a set of Good Simulation Practices, besides other channels devoted to specific topics and project such as:
    • Free Support Channel for computational medicine applications and scalability issues. 
    • Confidential forum where regulatory experts can freely discuss the best approaches to regulatory submission of In Silico Trial technologies for clinical practice
  • International School on In Silico Trials, training initiative for decision-makers in medical industries, research hospitals, contract research organizations, regulatory agencies and notified bodies.