Optimata: Models That Take Drugs


Ecologically-speaking, the clinical trials business is costly and unfriendly. Large numbers of animals are bred for pre-clinical trials, vast quantities of plastic test-tubes are consumed as well as huge financial expenditures that go into making a new drug. Yet even with all of this investment, few drugs makes it through the drug development process. But thanks to Israeli bio-simulation company, Optimata, drug-developers can now bypass some of the development stages. Using a virtual computerized patient that mimics a human being's biological processes (created by complex mathematical parameters), Optimata can help predict drug toxicity and efficacy well-before drugs are used on animal models (a polite word for saying experimentations on lab rats and monkeys). Drug developers take heed: Optimata was able to successfully predict the outcomes of breast cancer patients in Nottingham, UK hospital. According to company website: Optimata integrates the drug candidate's properties into its Virtual Cancer Patient Engine and by utilizing the engine, simulates an infinite number of treatment protocols for different indications. The clinical outcome guides the drug developer as to the most appropriate indication and the most appropriate protocol.

Optimata's technology is based on a computer-generated method of accurately predicting how individual patients or patient populations will respond to a compound. The technology combines computer models of human physiology, specific diseases and the therapeutic impact of a compound. It then forecasts the results of preclinical and clinical experiments at an unprecedented scale, allowing an unlimited number of "virtual trials" to be carried out on a wide range of dosages, treatment schedules and patient populations. In this way, it is possible to overcome the time and cost limitations of the trial-and-error methods currently used in drug development and to establish the optimal therapy protocol in a significantly quicker way.

Company founder Zvia Agur first started modelling her mathematics to ecological equations. One of her first tasks was to predict which way the fish would swim once the Suez Canal was built. She predicted right. Let's hope she can do the same with Optimata. :: Bio-IT World ::BBC

Related:: Drug and vaccine developer Merck accidentally discharges cyanide compound that killed at least 1,000 fish in the Wissahickon Creek and prompted closure of Philadelphia's water-intake valves. ::Philadelphia Enquirer