"VPH2020, an event not to be missed" Interview with Thierry Marchal - Ansys Group

Date :
Changed on 05/08/2020
The VPH2020 conference, a biennial digital medicine conference organized by VPH Insitute and the Inria Saclay - Île-de-France research center, is supported this year by Ansys, a software publisher specializing in digital simulation. Meeting with Thierry Marchal, Global Director of the Healthcare business within the Ansys group and General Secretary of the Avicenna Alliance.

Why are you interested in in silico medicine?

Numerical modeling has always been at the heart of our concerns. Indeed, Ansys develops software tools and provides technical support to simulate your product, be it a car, a medical device or recently food products. The big difference between the medical sector and other more advanced industries is that you can't just model the product, you have to include it in your field of activity, the human body.

For a long time it was thought to be too complex, but the goal of modeling is to be able to improve health care, not to create a perfect digital model. In a model of the heart, for example, it is not always necessary to replicate the exact composition of the blood. The interest of a "digital avatar" is multiple, it will accelerate the design of medical devices and treatments, while limiting risks, development time and costs. It can also improve clinical practice, or the understanding of the spread of diseases, including for the general public via 3D visualisations of the diffusion of sputum in the case of Covid19.

Why are you supporting the VPH2020conference?

It is the reference event, the only one this year, for all the people doing research to develop these digital models. We go there to take the temperature of the sector, to see the progress made, what new teams are getting involved in the field... To meet clinicians, regulators, researchers and inform them of what is possible from a numerical point of view.

What is the importance of collaborations between industry, academia and clinicians?

They are crucial. Manufacturers are often well aware of the needs of customers, whether clinicians or patients, and can share with academics their perspectives on the most promising areas of research. On the other hand, the dynamism of academic research and the peer review of new applications means that the models developed can be constantly challenged, experimentally tested and validated, despite their increasing complexity.

France is undoubtedly the most advanced country in the world in the clinical validation of these numerical simulations. For example, the Rennes University Hospital treats people suffering from aortic aneurysms: the teams will scan a patient and the surgeon will be able to prepare the operation on his virtual double in order to determine the best way to consolidate this particular cardiovascular system.