The preDiCT project officially launched 1 June 2008, with a mission to model, simulate, and ultimately predict the impact of pharmacological compounds on the heart's rhythm using computer models. This will require advances beyond the current state-of-the-art in:
  • Mathematical models of individual ion channels, which control how and when cells contract;
  • Tissue models, which encapsulate chemical processes and physical relationships at millions of separate points in the heart; and
  • The computer code, which must compute these relationships as a series of complex equations, to enable faster-than-real-time simulation of a beating heart.

Current best practice in pharmaceutical development relies on the Q-T interval (the spacing of two points on an electrocardiogram) as a proxy for potential danger. However, it is known that some drugs which fail this test do not lead to arrhythmia (e.g. Ranolazine, whose safety was demonstrated by the Oxford team). We hope to be able to develop more accurate gauges of potential cariotoxicity.

About 40% of drug candidates fail to come to market due to adverse impact on heart rhythm. preDiCT project hope to achieve better understanding of the underlying mechanisms, which may lead to refinement of the drug development process to avoid these side effects.

By extending the frontiers of "in silico" experimentation, the proposed project will enable future researchers to refine, replace and ultimately reduce the use of animals in pharmaceutical and other cardiac research.

The preDiCT project is embedded in the broader VPH initiative, with direct links to two other FP7-funded VPH projects: The Integrating Project euHeart, which will focus on patient-specific simulation for treatment of cardiovascular disease (17 partners, jointly coordinated by the Philips Technology Research Laboratory and the University of Oxford) and the Virtual Physiological Human Network of Excellence, a service to the community of VPH researchers (13 core partners plus broader membership, jointly coordinated by University College London and the University of Oxford).

The preDiCT project partners are:

  • F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG
  • Szegedi Tudományegyetem
  • Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe Limited
  • Glaxo Smithkline Research and Development
  • Universidad Politécnica de Valencia
  • Centro di Ricerca, Sviluppo e Studi Superiori in Sardegna
  • Novartis Pharma AG
  • Aureus Pharma SA

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