Biogen Idec arthritis model gets personal

Using a patient dataset and some high-horsepower computing, researchers at Biogen Idec ($BIIB) and analytics company GNS Healthcare have built a rheumatoid arthritis disease model that lets them run patient-specific virtual clinical trials. This personalized-medicine stepping stone yields dynamic disease models of individualized patient outcomes, they say in PLoS Computational Biology.

The model generates predictions of the RA-sufferer's response to drugs, and the response to inhibiting drug targets and disease pathways. That's a first, says Colin Hill, CEO at GNS.

The collaborators used a patient dataset comprising genotyping, whole-blood gene expression profiles and such clinical measures as tender joints, swollen joints and C-reactive protein. They fed the data into GNS's supercomputer-driven platform, REFS (reverse-engineering and forward-simulation). REFS built the model.

- see the GNS release