Engineering Simulation Software from ANSYS to Play Key Role in Developing Improved Treatment for Disease that Costs Billions
SOUTHPOINTE, Pa : ANSYS, Inc. (NASDAQ: ANSS), a global innovator of simulation software and technologies designed to optimize product development processes, today announced its participation in the Osteoporotic Virtual Physiological Human Project (VPHOP), launched this fall by a European consortium. VPHOP aims to develop a new generation of medical technologies designed to predict the patient-specific risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture, improving diagnosis and treatment as well. Software from ANSYS is being used to simulate the variety of structural and fluid flow dynamics within the human anatomy based on the project’s collection of anatomical, physiological and pathological data.
Osteoporosis is a common and potentially life-threatening condition that causes patients to suffer unusually low bone mass, making bones weak, brittle and susceptible to fracture. Thirty percent to 50 percent of all women and 15 percent to 30 percent of all men will face an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetimes. In Europe, there are approximately 4 million fractures as a result of osteoporosis every year. The condition results in disability and direct hospital expenses that cost €30 billion (approximately $38 billion U.S.) annually. With an aging population, the cost is set to double by the year 2050 (source: International Osteoporosis Foundation).
Current treatments for osteoporosis focus on fracture prevention through a risk assessment based on historical patient data from similar reference populations. VPHOP takes a different approach by personalizing risk assessment. The project will develop patient-specific computer models based on conventional diagnostic imaging methods, incorporating the results of engineering simulation studies using software from ANSYS, to predict the daily loading of the skeleton for normal and abnormal activities. The computer models will allow clinicians to predict the actual risk and location of fracture for each patient, currently and into the future.
“The current approaches to fracture risk assessment oversimplify what is an extremely complex and multifaceted problem,” said Dr. Marco Viceconti, coordinator of VPHOP. “These approaches are only 60 percent to 70 percent accurate. But by applying the latest technology and using the analysis procedures we are developing, in conjunction with current approaches, we believe we will be able to substantially improve this figure.”
“Our multiphysics engineering simulation software has enormous potential in the area of biomechanics and pharmacology. The fact that we can play an important role in VPHOP and help to improve and extend the lives of millions of people is both humbling and quite extraordinary,” said Jim Cashman, president and chief executive officer of ANSYS, Inc. “This project also demonstrates how our software can be a real driver in the development of patient-specific healthcare. Once you have the geometry of part of an individual’s anatomy — something easily available via CT or MRI scan — you also have the technology to run simulations of structural, fluid, and heat flows along with electric and magnetic fields, all of which are critical to the operation of the human body. The potential growth for engineering simulation in the healthcare industry is immense.”
VPHOP is being driven by a consortium of 19 European organizations, including ANSYS France. It is one of only a handful of studies to successfully gain funding from the European Commission for its research initiative, “The Virtual Physiological Human.”
Running for four years until 2012, the VPHOP consortium will enable clinicians to provide accurate prognoses and implement more-effective treatment strategies based on both drug treatments and forms of direct intervention treatment. A searchable database will be developed as part of this collaboration, which could later be used for any patient specific-modeling for applications ranging from osteoporosis to cardiovascular disease to cerebral aneurysm.
Jan 15, 2009
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