Going Virtual To Improve Patient Safety

iHealthBeat : by Bonnie Darves, 10/29/12

Jazz buffs might readily recognize Duke, Ella, Thelonius and Billie as the names of four of the all-time greats in that musical sector. But those monikers are also the names of the members of a virtual family — two adults and two children — being used by FDA to potentially improve the safety of devices and drugs before they hit the market.

These virtual patients are basically high-resolution, magnetic-resonance images of healthy volunteers, complete with organs, bones and other tissue. Created using computer-aided design to comprise  FDA’s “Virtual Family Tool,” the models are being used to assess the safety and efficacy of medical implants and devices, and radiologic imaging.

“The virtual physiological patient is our model for taking this work forward to come up with a coherent set of models for key organ systems that can be used to design devices, and eventually tailor therapies to individual patients so that their physiology can be plugged into these models,” Michelle McMurry-Heath — associate director for science in FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health — said. Read more