What if doctors could predict the treatment success for each individual? Patients would not be burdened unnecessarily and healthcare costs would drop. Researcher Natal van Riel of Eindhoven University of Technology is working on mathematical models that show the human metabolism for each person. With his DigiTwin research project, he wants to build a digital copy of individual patients to predict the success and to determine the necessary aftercare of a treatment such as gastric bypass surgery in the case of obesity.
Every human being is unique. With a unique life in a unique environment, unique behavior, a unique genome and a unique history of diseases. That is why each person reacts differently to treatment, and medication does not always work. Doctors have difficulty estimating this difference. From this fact, a new field of research has emerged in science: personalized medicine. Van Riel: “Based on the idea that the average patient does not exist, we use computer models to try to predict an individual’s response to a therapy or medication.”
With the increase of metering citizens, who use fitbits and other health apps to monitor their own health, more and more data is becoming available per individual. This goldmine of data is currently unused by doctors, while this data can be very interesting in determining what makes you different from others. When people use these apps for a longer period of time, the resulting database runs parallel with your life, so to speak.
That is exactly the information that the DigiTwin research program wants to use. Of course, with due regard for matters such as privacy, ethics and data security. Van Riel: “We are creating a computer model based on the mountain of data. And because the model always uses new data, which the individual collects over a longer period