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Digital Twins And The Promise Of Personalized Medicine

Can you guess the percentage of patients with Alzheimer’s on whom medication is ineffective? What about those with arthritis? Or cardiac arrhythmia? In fact, you don’t have to guess as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already has the answers: 70%, 50% and 40% respectively. The percentage of patients for whom medications are ineffective ranges from 38-75% for varying conditions from depression to osteoporosis. This is an area where we can expect digital twins to bring a revolution.

The main cause why many of our drugs are ineffective is the very specific genetic makeup of every individual. The latter is so different and their interaction so unique that therapies for the “average patient” might very well not be adapted to the “actual patient” – not to mention how drug testing is not representative at all. Ultimately, patients with the same diagnosis will react differently to the same therapy.

The natural question that follows is: isn’t there a method to turn around the treatment process to focus on the actual patient? Forging this principle ahead is the concept of digital twins. It originated from the engineering industry but has found a new home in medicine.


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