Simulation As the Future of Biomedical Research

MSNBC looks at where exponentially growing computational power leads us - why run ten experiments in the real world if you could run a thousand in simulation for the same cost in time and money? Medicine will move to look much more like other branches of engineering today in that respect: "I would predict that this century is going to be dominated by our ability to handle biomedical problems in a computational domain ... The increasing ability of computers and biochips to mimic brain chemistry, internal organs, and the interactions between drugs and viruses such as HIV could help reduce the reliance on animal testing to understand the potency and side effects of pharmaceuticals. A more informed leap between experiments on dish-grown cells and lab animals, in turn, could lead to a better drug development process. And eventually, the technology could usher in a new era of personalized medicine in which rapid tests tell doctors which treatments have the best chances of success for individual patients. ... Devices that look at what happens within the body as a whole could eventually take over many roles played by the lab rat [and] the range of simulations being worked on now will increasingly approach reality."


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