A clinical investigator in Florida suggests that clinical trial simulators could someday replace trials with real participants – at least to some extent.
In an interview with MedCity News, Dr. Michael Smith explained that supercomputers could be used to conduct virtual trials involving many thousands of subjects, analyzing realistic data to predict outcomes at relatively low cost. The results would be as accurate as those from a real-world trial, and possibly more so, since the impact of human factors would be lessened. The challenge would be to construct data sets that are truly representative of human physiologic variation.
While it isn’t likely that virtual trials could ever totally eliminate the need for clinical research in humans, they would almost certainly support better decision making by investigators, research sponsors and regulators. The potential for reduced risk to human participants would also be very compelling.