The Virtual Physiological Human project is a computer simulated replica of the human body that is being created to test drugs and treatments. It will allow physicians to model the mechanical, physical and biochemical functions of the body as a single complex system rather than as a collection of organs. The goal is to offer personalized treatment of disease.
The University of Sheffield is significantly contributing to the project:
Dr Paul Morris is creating personalized “virtual arteries” using images of a patient’s heart, which can accurately predict how effective an operation, such as the introduction of a stent, might be.
Professor Jim Wild believes that computer models of a patient’s lungs could allow doctors to detect signs of lung diseases such as emphysema much earlier.
Dr Xinshan Li is researching the impact of pregnancy on women’s pelvic floor muscles. “It’s positioned as a predictive tool,” she said. “The idea is to get the geometry of your pelvic floor either during pregnancy or before you become pregnant, and then run simulations of the birth process and see how likely it is that the muscle will be damaged. If the risk is high, then there are certain interventions we can do during the birth process to mitigate the risk.”