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As technological advancements are rapidly increasing, the clinical research industry may not be too far away from doing in silico, or simulation trials which are truly virtual, and done of a healthy volunteer (or animal’s) digital model, otherwise known as a digital twin.  Imaging companies such as Quibim are best suited to pave the way forward for this next disruptive technology.  Not only will many animal and toxicity studies be able to be simulated, but can also theoretically be utilized as a pre-screening tool in order to proactively prevent SAE’s from occurring by running a simulation first and letting the patient and physician know what is likely to occur to patient if they enrolled into the study.  This may seem like science fiction, but so was the human genome project over a decade ago.

Outside of clinical research, just how patients are storing their own medical records for safekeeping and sharing with their healthcare providers, the same can in theory be possible when it comes to your digital twin that can be updated in real time, or perhaps every 5 years based on your MRI and other imaging results.

Ángel believes that phase 2-4 studies would still utilize real patients, but pre-clinical and toxicity studies can be completely simulated if the digital twin paradigm becomes commonplace in the research industry.  Not only will this mean faster clinical trials for animal and Phase 1 healthy volunteer studies, but it will allow for more sophisticated phase 2-3 pre-screening activities.

The in silico medicine movement will still require an opt-in from every patient that would want to: a.) have a digital twin and b.) share their digital twin with their healthcare providers.  Ángel believes that blockchain technology and the security and anonymity that is enables, will play a significant role in patients wanted to become involved with these types of technologies.  Our next episode will revolve around the topic of blockchain technology enabling technological innovations in clinical research and medicine in general.

Katherine Wilisch Ramírez