A total of 13 institutions from 7 countries are involved in the VPH network. The partners hope that once their 'personalised healthcare framework' has been created, a wide range of doctors, scientists and researchers will be able to virtually investigate the human body as a single complex organism.
The VPH project will also create a constantly expanding knowledge database, which will be used to develop better patient diagnosis and treatment.
A postgraduate VPH training programme at the University of Nottingham in the UK will help scientists from diverse disciplines to carry out collaborative studies across the EU. Mathematicians and medical researchers who use mathematical modelling will work together to find solutions to complex biomedical problems, for example. Researchers from academia and industry will meet this week to present technical problems relating to regenerative medicine, particularly those involving epithelial cells in the skin, bladder, lungs, heart and breast.
It is hoped that the study groups will develop new theoretical illness models that may eventually form the basis for new research projects.
Dr Bindi Brook of the University of Nottingham's School of Mathematical Sciences said, "This study group is one of the prototypes for the sort of collaborative study which will be a key feature of our new VPH training programme. The course will allow postgraduates to train within the VPH network of European universities and, crucially, to access and contribute to a virtual VPH academy online."
The VPH project may revolutionise medical healthcare in the future. Employing emerging technologies such as genomics means that researchers in all areas can make use of enormous amounts of crucial and detailed physiological data. At the same time, advances in computer and information technology will make it easier for this information to be used to create genetic profiles of patients. It is hoped that over the next 10 years these advances will include treatments for both cancer and HIV/AIDS.
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