There are some things that you would never wish on anyone. Illnesses, for one. Or a complicated forearm injury that requires an implant to treat it. Fortunately, these accidents happen relatively rarely. However, that was precisely the crux of an enquiry about a joint research project with the University of Saarland that we received in early 2020. Extensive clinical studies need to be conducted to guarantee the optimum treatment of these kinds of fractures. However, this would necessitate a very large number of people who had suffered these terrible fractures. If there are not enough people – thank God – a Plan B is needed. That’s where we come in.
Operation “Medical Technology”
Normally at csi entwicklungstechnik, we apply our knowledge and experience to the mobility industry, in particular, to developing innovations and optimising processes. However, in the “VirtuS” research project, on which we are working together with the University of Saarland and our cooperation partners KLSMartin, IL Innovationslabor GmbH and the Chair of Trauma Surgery at the University of Tübingen, we are using our knowledge and expertise to replace a lack of patient (data)* and to answer, among other questions: how can we ideally help bones heal and simulate the healing process? How do we need to design an implant to ensure that fractures heal? Don't worry, in answering these questions we’re not dealing with surgical equipment, but rather with the instruments that are available to us that we have been using for many years: simulation programs, CAD and CAE software, and digital process chains.
Simulation is coming (more and more often) before studies.
“VirtuS” is an innovative research project in the field of “Medical technology solutions for digital healthcare” and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The aim of this exciting three-year project is to develop and establish an innovative digital process for the virtualisation of clinical trials based on the example of severe injuries to the forearm. “VirtuS” initially involves a clinical study that is mapped totally digitally; this is where csi entwicklungstechnik comes in. Realistic and statistically representative virtual patient models will then be created in parallel in a second stage; these models can then be combined with the real patient data from the clinical study to form a hybrid study. What does this mean? The University of Tübingen will provide medical care for the patients, while the University of Saarland will evaluate their data and supervise the patients during their rehabilitation to record further data. This approach enables relevant issues to be analysed on a larger number of samples, and correlations can be identified much faster and more reliably than in purely analogue studies.
However, following from this hybrid study, we will then taken a further crucial ‘quantum leap’ with “VirtuS”: Together with our partners, we will set up a digital process chain that will enable clinical trials to be conducted that are fully virtual and based on calculations alone. These virtual studies could be useful in future wherever data are very limited due to low patient cohorts: in rare diseases or in complicated fractures etc. The “VirtuS”" results will also be of interest to medical professionals and medical technology companies, such as our project partner KLSMartin, who require a realistic representation of bones or biomechanical simulations to produce (individual) implants. However, it would also be feasible to use virtual studies to track the development of certain injuries or to avoid injuries – the buzzword here is pedestrian protection or “PedPro”.
csi: Accident-free in new sectors too.
It’s not the “end of the world” by any means when we are confronted with completely new questions. On the contrary, we love every new challenge and quickly and professionally work our way into totally new subject matter. Whether we are working in the automotive industry, the construction sector or, as in this case, medical research – our solutions and innovations are designed to make the world a better place. So, if you’re struggling with a real or virtual problem, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We look forward to receiving your initial enquiry!