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The Virtual 'Patient'


Predictions made by computer models already enhance and impact our everyday lives, from helping us to know what the weather will be like tomorrow to safety testing the cars we drive. Such models are often implemented in situations where we face complex problems, with potentially dangerous and/or expensive consequences.


Human disease is a

complex problem


Rather than testing novel therapeutic strategies on actual patients, with the associated risks to their health and well-being, we construct, in the case of cancer patients, a model of the tumour cell based on the comprehensive molecular, clinical and experimental characterisation of an individual tumour.


In taking such an approach, responses to any desired therapeutic scenario can be simulated, with the ultimate goal of matching every patient to the ‘right’ drug (and, in a clinical trial, every drug to the right set of patients) either directly by the results of the modelling, or indirectly using biomarkers derived through this process.




The Virtual Patient concept described by Prof. Hans Lehrach (English subtitles):

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