SIMULIA Community News

March 2016: Exploring the Power of Optimization

SIMULIA and the University of Sheffield's Insigneo Institute Partner to Transform Healthcare


After  several  years  of  effective  technical collaborations, Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA and The Insigneo Institute for Medicine have established an important partners in silico for biomedical engineering with a mission of transforming healthcare through the use of realistic simulation and advanced visualization.

“This was a natural next step for us,” states Steve Levine, Sr. Director of Virtual Human Modeling (VHM) for SIMULIA. “As evidenced by the tremendous success of our collaboration on the MySpine project on patient-specific simulations  of the lumbar spine, there  are  obvious  synergies  between our organizations. Through the Living Heart Project and related virtual human modeling initiatives we have shown our commitment to driving innovation and accelerating the pace of translational science, and we are very much aligned with Insigneo’s strategic objectives. Together we have the expertise and necessary ingredients to lead a transformation in the healthcare industry,” Levine added.

The University of Sheffield’s Insigneo Institute is the UK’s largest academic group dedicated to the implementation of personalized, predictive, ‘in silico medicine’. With over 140 members, the Institute focuses on developing sophisticated models of health and disease tailored to each individual patient’s anatomy, physiology, and particular circumstances, aimed at aiding diagnosis and reducing patient risk in any actual clinical intervention.

Central to the Institute’s methodology is the use of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform with technologies such as Abaqus FEA. Certified and proven commercial software such as Abaqus provides the highest quality of operation, ensuring acceptance by medical equipment manufacturers responsible for clinical introduction. Many of Insigneo’s solutions already leverage SIMULIA products and, as a result of this partnership, usage will continue to grow and result in the development of more sophisticated clinical solutions.

“Formal recognition of our close relationship with SIMULIA is an appropriate and very welcome next step as Insigneo pursues its strategic objectives: Excellence which is a sine qua non as we seek to lead worldwide developments in in silico technology; Translation into both clinical and industrial domains which relies on the credibility of our science and the performance of our technologies; Training where SIMULIA provides truly excellent materials and facilities; and the establishment of Strategic Alliances which, with SIMULIA, was borne out of our collaboration on the MySpine project and is being facilitated around the world by their universal presence,” said Professor Damien Lacroix, Insigneo Director of Research and scientific Coordinator of the MySpine project.

MySpine was motivated by the desire to improve upon the existing clinical approach to the diagnosis and treatment of spinal conditions, by introducing in-silico techniques. Chronic back pain affects 80% of the population at some point in their lives, costing the worldwide economy billions each year. Currently, back pain can be difficult to diagnose precisely, and assessing different treatment methods can be challenging.

Working together across Europe on this EC-funded project led by Insigneo, the MySpine consortium developed a digital solution capable of creating a personalized 3D model of a patient’s spine. The resulting MySpine software provides an extremely valuable decision support system for clinicians. The software uses readily-available MRI and CT patient scans as well as a patient’s age, height and weight, tissue properties, and physical activity level, to simulate the outcome of different treatment options. Insigneo selected Abaqus as the key simulation component for MySpine because of its advanced capabilities to model intervertebral discs. Through validated virtual surgeries on patient-specific models, clinicians can make more informed decisions, to select the treatment that promises the greatest long-term success in each case.

“MySpine offers clinicians additional, previously unavailable insights. The technology developed in this project can be used in any hospital using conventional MRI and CT scans, and it is one of the first signs of computer models being used to provide detailed personalized help in healthcare; I believe that, before too long, this will become normal practice, as has happened in many other sectors: today you wouldn’t contemplate designing an airplane without computer simulation, and I’m sure that very soon you won’t plan any clinical intervention without personalized in silico decision support,” said Lacroix.

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