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Simulating Medical Treatments in a Computer


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#1
d2themfi

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Will it be possible to simulate potential medical treatments in computer programs, avoiding the very long process of animal/human trials? If so, what is the current limiting factor? Computer power/processing speed, software, etc?



#2
Lily

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They are trying something similar, at least, something that is reforming medicine and turning it into an information technology, which hopefully will speed up the whole process of progress. The goal of this is to be able to test new drugs and treatments on engineered cells to minimize animal/human testing and shorten the long progress which are clinical trials.

 

Here's a TED Talk talking about how they are using cells on chips for drug screening and disease research.

 

An important reason why we're not that far advanced in this field yet is simply that we haven't been doing this for long. I hope that the technological progress will alter the way we find and test new drugs and treatments so that it will be safer, more cost effective and, most importantly, more effective. Not only this, but also medical research could be facilitated by this technique.


"All scientific advancement due to intellegence overcoming, compensating, for limitations. Can't carry a load, so invent wheel. Can't catch food, so invent spear. Limitations. No limitations, no advancement. No advancement, culture stagnates. Works other way too. Advancement before culture is ready. Disastrous."

There's definitely truth in that...


#3
d2themfi

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Amazing Ted Talk, thanks for the link! Such an obvious application of pluripotent stem cells, that hadn't occured to me.

 

I will admit though, I was thinking more along the lines of something like a super advanced virtual reality where we could simulate human trials in such precise models that it would be like the real thing, except it could be done in seconds. I'd be curious if thats feasible or not



#4
Lily

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This is, unfortunately, not my area of expertise (like I have any, lol), so I can't really help you out on that one. Maybe one of the other guys around here has some data on this? It does sound like it would speed up the ordeal of getting a treatment tested and approved, but I'm not sure how/if it would work.

 

Not that it wouldn't be amazing, mind you. I hate that a lot of treatments never get to the clinical trial stage because of funding issues, or when they do, they prove inefficient/dangerous/not viable for regular use. Having methods to get results faster would help a lot with new breakthroughs in medicine. Why do you think is it taking so long to find cures for HIV or other things? Researchers find some "could work/ it's possible" method, but until it's tested it's half an eternity and then you see that it may not work as good as anticipated etc etc - thing is, we wan't new and cutting-edge treatments and we want them fast. Safety can't be ignored when it comes to this, though, and that's very imporant. Still, it takes so freaking long it makes you think there's no progress being made at all.


"All scientific advancement due to intellegence overcoming, compensating, for limitations. Can't carry a load, so invent wheel. Can't catch food, so invent spear. Limitations. No limitations, no advancement. No advancement, culture stagnates. Works other way too. Advancement before culture is ready. Disastrous."

There's definitely truth in that...





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