Paeon is a Research Project on eHealth and Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme. The project ended in January 2016.
Paeon developed VPH models (Virtual Patients and Virtual Doctors) and software tools (Virtual Hospital) enabling in silico clinical trials, that is clinical trials performed by means of computer simulations over a population of Virtual Patients. In silico clinical trials are recognised as a disruptive key innovation for medicine, as they allow medical scientists to reduce and postpone invasive, risky, costly and time-consuming in vivo experiments of new treatments on animals and humans to much later stages of the testing process, when a deeper knowledge of their effectiveness and side-effects has been acquired via simulations.
Project achievements also address decision support in personalised medicine, e-learning and training for medical students and young professionals as well as research in VPH modelling. Although the methods developed in Paeon can be applied to any area of medicine, the focus of the project is in reproductive endocrinology and individualised fertility treatments.
Paeon highly interdisciplinary consortium consists of computer scientists, reproductive endocrinologists, psychiatrists, biologists and mathematicians.
The Paeon VPH Model is the Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) model of the human menstrual cycle developed within the project. It predicts hormone concentrations and follicular development for healthy as well as pathological menstrual cycles, also taking into account patient external as well as environmental factors. The Paeon VPH Model enables the computation of a population of Virtual Patients representing different classes of real patients.
Paeon Virtual Doctors precisely encode the strategies followed by physicians when administering given treatment protocols, defining the clinical actions (for example, drug administrations) to be performed at each step, on the basis on patient data and clinical measurements. During the project, fertility treatment procotols currently in use at the Reproductive Endocrinology division of University Hospital Zurich have been encoded as Virtual Doctors.
Paeon developed a collection of general-purpose cloud-based software services which exploit VPH Models and Virtual Doctors to enable in silico clinical trials for the benefit of health-care centres, educational institutions and VPH and medical scientists. Although Paeon software can exploit VPH Models and Virtual Doctors for all areas of medicine, the models developed within the project specialise it to the areas of reproductive endocrinology and fertility treatments.
Fertility centres will improve on their clinical workflow, provide higher quality services at lower costs.
With Paeon Treatment Decision Support System, medical doctors are assisted in administering individualised fertility treatments to their patients in a consistent way, according to the standards they defined.
With Paeon Estradiol Estimation Service, medical doctors will estimate estradiol blood level from the size of the growing follicles, hence reducing the number of blood samples required during fertility treatments and their associated costs, and improving logistics and patients comfort by supporting healthcare at home.
Medical, biology and bio-engineering schools will improve skills of their students at lower costs by exploiting Paeon Clinical Training Service, a suite of simulation-based serious games allowing students to learn and experiment with human physiology, the effect of drugs and fertility treatments in a virtual environment.
Researchers will improve their effectiveness and efficiency in VPH modelling by exploiting Paeon VPH Modelling Support Service, a suite of simulation-based software services aimed at supporting them in defining new Virtual Physiological Human models, validating them against retrospective clinical data and building large populations of virtual patients to enable in silico clinical trials.
Medical scientists will reduce costs, risks and duration of their clinical trials by exploiting Paeon In Silico Clinical Trials Service, a suite of cloud-based software services enabling them to perform experiments of new treatments in silico on a population of virtual patients, before testing them in vivo on animals and humans.