At Dassault Systèmes, we uncover new ways to apply our technologies to big questions. One example comes from the Life Sciences industry: “What if physicians and surgeons could virtually analyze their patients’ health and respond with precisely planned therapies and surgeries? What if medical devices could be designed and safely tested in the virtual world before ever being used on a real person?”
Our answer to these questions has been driven from within our simulation and computational modeling expertise, in the form the Living Heart Project which was initially announced at our 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM in 2013. The Living Heart Project aims to drive the creation and use of simulated 3D personalized hearts in the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of heart diseases. Over the years we’ve seen great success with this project that has enabled researchers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, scientists, doctors and other industry leaders to come together and explore the possibilities that could lead to better diagnosis’ and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
Today, at the North American 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM 2017, the Living Heart Project has reached yet another new milestone. The Living Heart model is now available on the cloud, which offers the speed and flexibility of high-performance computing (HPC) to even the smallest medical device companies, enabling new perspectives for medical research. An additional benefit of the Living Heart Project being available on the cloud is it allows for thousands of tests to be run at the same time where previously, medical device makers had to run them one at a time. This significantly lowers barriers to innovation in addition to time and costs. With these new capabilities, The Living Heart has been used to simulate detailed drug interactions affecting the entire organ function by researchers at Stanford University working with UberCloud to test drugs for the risk of inducing cardiac arrhythmias, the leading negative side effect preventing FDA approval of new drugs.
Since 2013, the Living Heart Project has grown to include 95 worldwide members with an extension into simulating drug interactions with the heart. One of those members includes the FDA. The Agency has more recently put a greater focus on dedicating research to uncovering the possibilities that simulation brings to the healthcare industry. Our CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Bernard Charles, gave the keynote at the 4th Annual FDA Scientific Computing Day in October 2016. Later, in July 2017, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb publicly outlined the FDA plan to help consumers capitalize on advances in science stating, “Modeling and simulation plays a critical role in organizing diverse data sets and exploring alternate study designs. This enables safe and effective new therapeutics to advance more efficiently through the different stages of clinical trials.”
Simulation software has long been used to model and design airplanes and automobiles, but now we’re starting to use these technologies to develop highly accurate personalized human organs, medical devices and biologics. We’re living in a time where products – big or small, cars and human hearts alike – are being brought to life in a virtual environment. Today, simulation technologies can detect how these models will respond under stress or in any lifelike situation. When finally brought to market, the device will result in the highest levels of quality and safety for both patients and providers. And with all of the incredible advancements the Living Heart offers for cardiovascular in silico medicine, what else is on the horizon for the human body?