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IT Future of Medicine (ITFoM) to present a “virtual patient” at the FET Flagship Midterm Conference

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Healthcare IT news Brussels, 24 November 2011 – The vision of the IT Future of Medicine (ITFoM) project to build a personalized patient model, a “virtual patient”, will be presented at the FET Flagship Midterm Conference and Exhibition in Warsaw on 24-25 November 2011.

Recent breakthroughs in gene sequencing technology have been marked by a drastic reduction in time and cost. This allows the possibility that within a few years we will be able to sequence the genome of each patient, providing a basis for truly personalized medicine. A model that would integrate physiological, anatomical and life style data from individual patients should be able to simulate and predict all processes in the human body, enabling physicians to identify personalized prevention schedules, therapies and potential effects on individual patients. Using such a model, physicians will be able to prescribe a drug that will work and avoid those that would only cause side effects.

The ITFoM project aims to create such a personalized computer model. Using the genome and other –omics data in conjunction with clinical data of individuals to build a “virtual patient”, this model will revolutionize modern health care by providing the opportunity for the practitioner to choose the optimal treatment for each individual and predict future health risks. The potential benefits are enormous in terms of reducing healthcare costs as well as for each individual patient: identification of efficient drug combinations on an individual basis; substantial advances in disease prevention and treatment; better data access and use for health professionals, healthcare systems, and researchers.

The individualized predictive model approach presents a huge challenge for ICT development because of the amount of data produced and needs to be integrated in modern healthcare planning. Such data-rich medicine also requires fundamental advances in the computational sciences. Academic groups from a range of research backgrounds have joined forces with their industry-based colleagues in making ITFoM a reality.

The ITFoM project will present outcomes and achievements of the past six months at the FET Flagship Midterm Conference and Exhibition in Warsaw. Amongst others, third generation sequencing technology will be presented by Life Technologies at the ITFoM’s exhibition booth. The huge amount of data generated by sequencing methods and other lab technologies will be analyzed and fed to the new model approach. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics will show first results of the predictive modeling approach in the treatment of cancer.

In addition, the perspective on how this novel approach could be implemented in health care systems of the future will be demonstrated by the ITFoM partner HealthSolve. The company has developed an easy-to-use system for nurses supporting care for elderly people in residential homes, e.g. monitoring physiological state, drug distribution etc. Additional information about ITFoM is available at

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