‘Virtual human’ computer model assesses the safety of substances

Testing medicines and chemical substances with a computer model based on human data: that is the intent of the Virtual Human Platform for Safety Assessment (VHP4Safety) research project. This could replace the use of laboratory animals for testing the safety of substances in the future. The construction of this ‘virtual human’ was created during the first phase of the TPI programme.

Predicting the effects of medicines

Eventually, the ‘virtual human’ computer model could predict the effects of substances introduced into the body: whether the substance would have a good impact on certain organs, or in fact a toxic one. In this way, the side-effects of medicines could be discovered in a better way and more quickly, for instance, without the use of animal testing.

Collaboration between 35 organisations

As part of VHP4Safety, experts from the fields of data science, toxicology, biotechnology and technology and transition studies are working together. In total, 35 organisations are part of the collaboration. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) is steering the collaboration together with HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) at Utrecht University. The consortium received over €10 million from the National Research Agenda, to which various ministries contributed.

Read more about the safety assessment of chemical substances without the use of animal testing on the Utrecht University website.