What are Medtronic interests and vision of the in silico medicine field?
Our company develops, manufactures and distributes medical technologies that addresses more than 75 different medical conditions, from well-known medical devices like pacemakers, to instruments for spinal surgery, and wearable insulin pumps… Being a worldwide leader in medical technology, Medtronic is interested in in silico medicine as it is the most promising way to accelerate innovation and maintain or improve the safety of our products at the same time and we’re particularly interested in in silico trials. Medtronic is confident that in silico trials can help to reduce the number of patients that need to be enrolled in a clinical trial and, in some case, if there is enough evidence, a full clinical trial can be replaced by computational evidence.
Could you give us one example in which you used medical modeling?
We’ve already demonstrated the huge impact of in silico modeling in a regulatory context... Many patients with a pacemaker or cardioverter defibrillator will need an MRI at some point in their life– and with the electromagnetic field generated by the MRI, the wires delivering the pacing signal to the heart can pick up some of that energy, which can be mitigated through appropriate design. Tissue damage induced by electrode heating is the most challenging phenomenon to address. Medtronic engineers have conducted over 2.3 million different modeling scenarios to demonstrate safety and obtain marketing approval for MR Conditional cardiac leads, which has been achieved based on this in silico data.
Why do you feel that cooperating with clinicians and academic researchers is crucial?
Medical devices are highly complex in many cases. With the partnership of practitioners and academic researchers, Medtronic works diligently to develop and implement new solutions. That is also the reason why Medtronic has sponsored the last 3 issues of the VPH Conference, as it brings together the leading researchers and young talent in the field of in silico medicine with industry experts and thought leaders from different regulatory agencies. Especially during COVID times, it is important to have such events, as in-person information exchange is not happening as often. I strongly believe that miracles can happen, when pathways of people, who are interested in the same topics, intersect.