The beginning of the 21st century saw the birth of a completely new way to investigate living organisms through computer simulations, called in silico medicine. This coordination and support action, named after the great physician Avicenna, will explore systematically how computer simulations can be used to improve clinical trials of drugs, devices, and biotechnology products.
The Avicenna project, coordinated by University of Sheffield, is a 4 partner initiatives which in the span of 24 months aims to establish a partnership between biomedical industries and European research organisations, with the purpose of developing the technology, methods, protocols, and standards required in order to make possible the use of computer simulations before real clinical trials.
gaols of this initiative will be to reduce the costs and the risks (both
clinical and financial) involved in trials, and ultimately increase the
rate of innovation in healthcare. This action is designed around two fundamental
a) The primary users of in silico clinical trials technologies are the biomedical industries;
b) The type of research required to develop the necessary technology, methods, protocols, and standards is pre-competitive in nature, and thus should facilitate multiple biomedical industries competing in the same market to collaborate around their development and use.
So far, around the VPH initiative two road-mapping CSAs have been funded: STEP, which wrote the research roadmap for the VPH which in turn inspired most of the work done in FP7, and the DISCIPULUS action, that has developed the research roadmap for the Digital Patient, another key target for in silico medicine.
While STEP and DISCIPULUS are quite similar in structure, AVICENNA will be radically different: the roadmap investigating the needs, the vision, the gaps, the impact and the research agenda, is developed within a pre-competitive partnership, which will form at the end of AVICENNA, and which will play a key role in the development and the execution of the research agenda on in silico medicine. In this sense the final AVICENNA research roadmap on in silico clinical trials will not only be the tentative blueprint for Horizon 2020 research in this sector, it will also be the programmatic document of this industrial precompetitive partnership, and will guide its actions in the following years.
The AVICENNA Consortium is composed by four subjects that professionally support and steer large research initiatives, but from a research management perspective rather than scientific one:
Around this small core consortium, which will be focused on the development and operation of the CSA, there is a large group of associate and supporting partner institutions, that have already agreed to give their support to the development of this initiative. Among these partners, there is a large chunk of the VPH Institute member organisations, but also a big number of both SME and large industries operating in the field, such as Agfa Healthcare, AstraZeneca, AstraZeneca, Roche, Siemens, just to name some.
The CAS will be structured around a five meetings organised on specific thematic maps aimed at assembling the elements required for the definition of the roadmap leading to in silico clinical trials. The first meeting shall be organized in March 2014. We will keep you posted on the developments!