The future of biomedicine: virtual humans

The future of biomedicine: virtual humans

This is your brain on a chip. This is your liver on a slide. This is your body in a supercomputer. Any questions?

It’s a bit more complicated than that, but recently scientists have provided a sneak preview of the future of biomedicine with a range of projects seeking to assemble virtual humans — or parts of them — on computers and “labs on a chip.” Someday, the descendants of these sophisticated new programs and devices could serve as our stand-ins for clinical tests on drugs, cosmetics and toxic compounds.

“I would predict that this century is going to be dominated by our ability to handle biomedical problems in a computational domain,” said Peter Coveney, director of the Centre for Computational Science at University College London.

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