Virtual Major Organ Replicas, Simulators, a Thing of the Near Future

Imagine a world where robots were a key factor in your annual exams, virtual or simulated checkups were the norm, and other advanced tech could replicate major organs to assess potential risk or disease early on. We’re closer than we think.

As more health tech startups and other tech firms integrate artificial intelligent (AI) platforms into the medical system—streamlining everything from scans to patient data, and working to detent illness and disease in its early stage— the medical industry is moving into the future, something recently addressed at the recent Fortune Global Forum in Paris.

Become a Subscriber

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading this article.

Subscribe Now

At the panel, GE Healthcare and French tech company Dassault Systèmes described how they’re working together to bring technology to the market that can virtually replicate human brains and hearts to identify potential emergencies for health care professionals. Dassault recently purchased U.S. cloud-based Medidata, a provider of drug development and clinical research services, which the company hopes can help them expand into aviation and defense with its 3D simulation.

“Our goal is to really create a virtual twin of a human,” says Bernard Charlès, chief executive at Dassault Systèmes. The company has already started its Living Heart Project in conjunction with the FDA, uniting leading regulatory agencies, educators, cardiovascular researchers, medical device developers, and cardiologists as they work to develop digital models of human hearts.

These types of tech could also help reduce the need for animal experimentation, in addition to improving the validity of data, studies. Other projects including the Brain Simulation Project, which works with researchers worldwide to compare experimental results with model predictions and conduct non-experimental investigations studying disease of the brain digitally. However the brain is more complex with 86 million cells, or neurons, and 7,000 connections. Currently, there’s not digital capability to accurately model the entire human brain.

Ultimately, advanced simulation tech could help identify potential health risks or complications in the heart and brain and other organs and make managing scans and data more seamless for cardiologists and other healthcare workers and bring more dire conditions to their attention sooner.

“A radiologist or physician under stress may have 200 scans to read, and an X-ray that includes a pneumothorax could be four hours down the workflow,” says Kieran Murphy, CEO, GE Healthcare. “It might go from hours down to 15 minutes [with this technology].”