December 17, 2002
Disease Simulations Speeding Drug Development

A survey of the growing use of computer simulation models of disease processes and metabolism includes a report on the success of a couple asthma simulation models named Bill and Allen to predict that an approach for asthma treatment wouldn't work.

Because Bill's asthma didn't seem to reflect real life and Allen didn't respond to the interleukin-5 blockers, Aventis didn't pursue these compounds as potential asthma therapies. The Entelos model seems to have been accurate. Despite promising animal studies, when other companies recently tested interleukin-5 blockers in people, they found that the compounds have much less effect than the researchers had originally expected.

Each simulation of a disease begins by modeling the normal physiology and interaction of the organs involved. "We are striving for a whole-body approach to health and disease," says Jeff Trimmer of Entelos. "We want to use [our models] to understand how a person gets sick." Even when models don't seem to simulate what happens in real life—as in Bill—the findings can help researchers better understand physiological factors that are important in causing diseases, says Trimmer.

Computer simulations will eventually speed the rate of biomedical advance by orders of magnitude.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2002 December 17 12:56 AM  Biotech Advance Rates

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