It’s a revolution in healthcare that’s been predicted ever since the first human genome sequence was announced at the start of this century. Each person’s genetics inform their personal medical care through their lifetime and more effective treatments are then developed around that information. Giving the same treatments to everyone is a medical model the days of which are numbered.
Thanks to breakthroughs in 3D technologies such as virtual reality, digital simulation, and 3D printing the delivery of innovative healthcare products is accelerating and Precision Medicine is becoming a reality. For example, the U.S. FDAapproved 3D-printed tablets of a new version of Spritam for treating patients with epilepsy. The benefits of using 3D-printing to control tablet substances layer-by-layer include the ability to deliver a high drug load in a single dose and in a form that enables it to dissolve rapidly. Major advances have also been made in 3D-printing human tissue. Organovo has commercialised 3D-printed human liver tissue for preclinical drug discovery testing, and progressive research at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine has led to 3D-printed human kidneys.
Developments are heading towards 3D printing more complex organs including the heart. In the meantime, drug modelling, device design, and 3D-printing have converged to enable next-generation medical devices, such as stents that deliver drug doses as they dissolve in the body.
It is also possible to create, from data collected during an MRI scan, a patient-specific 3D model of the heart (a virtual, living heart) for detailed analysis and greater understanding. This allows heart conditions and symptoms to be animated in 3D so that medical professionals can develop better treatment plans and for patients to more easily understand their illness.
These technologies are enabling the convergence of medicine and medical devices such as biotherapeutics design; a treatment that relies on cell biology rather than drugs. Multi-scale modelling and simulation, unified digital lab solutions, scientific big data analytics, and optimization for 3D printing are also accelerated and expanded when people have access to the medical, genetic and lifestyle data they need to achieve a clear view of the situation and all of its details – down to an atomic level.
Deploying a unified technology platform helps explore, innovate and develop more effective treatments, and cures that fulfil the promise of Precision Medicine. The sooner it becomes standard practice, therapies, cures and outcomes will improve to enrich everyday living.
Oringally posted by Stephen Chadwick, Managaging Director of Dassault Systemes.