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Start: 08/2008
End: 08/2012

Approximately four million osteoporotic bone fractures cost the European health system more than 30 billion Euro per year. This figure could double by 2050. After the first fracture, the chances of having another one increase by 86 %. With current technology we can predict osteoporotic fractures with an accuracy of 60-70 % or less (tossing a coin would give 50 %).

By creating a patient-specific hypermodel, a model composed by many sub-models, each describing the relevant phenomena taking place at one of the many dimensional scales involved, accuracy could be dramatically improved.

The aim of VPHOP is to develop a multiscale modelling technology based on conventional diagnostic imaging methods that makes it possible, in a clinical setting, to predict for each patient the strength of his/her bones, how this strength is likely to change over time, and the probability that the he/she will overload his/her bones during daily life. These predictions will be used to:

Improve the diagnostic accuracy of the current clinical standards; Provide the basis for an evidence-based prognosis with respect to the natural evolution of the disease, to pharmacological treatments, and/or to preventive interventional treatments aimed to selectively strengthen particularly weak regions of the skeleton.

For patients at high risk of fracture, and for which the pharmacological treatment appears insufficient, the VPHOP system will also assist the interventional radiologist in planning the augmentation procedure. 

The various modelling technologies developed during the project will be validated not only in vitro, on animal models, or against retrospective clinical outcomes, but will also be assessed in terms of clinical impact and safety on small cohorts of patients enrolled at four different clinical institutions, providing the factual basis for effective clinical and industrial exploitation.

Funding: European Union Framework 7