Institute for Systems Biology Moscow (ISBM) announced the recent update of the Immune Response Template (IRT) platform and its online demo. The project aimed to integrate and visualize available data on immune cells, cytokine, chemokines and other mediators interactions in human. IRT is a unique tool due to its focus on quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) modeling. Using the platform modelers in pharmaceutical companies can strongly improve the drug R&D process.
Drug development has always been an expensive and complicated. A number of therapies often discontinue from the clinical development at the later stages. It is not always possible to choose doses of medication or recruit a suitable patient group for trials. ISBM offers a new approach to solve these problems: quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) modeling. Disease or organism system is described in the most precise mechanistic way, and the equations are based on literature data and basic knowledge. QSP models have the greatest planning horizon: built more on the early stages of the research, they predict what the developers can see on the second phase of clinical trials.
For the last decade the investigators from ISBM have developed many solutions for their partners- big pharmaceutical companies. IRT aggregates years of modeling experience in the company and simplifies the development of QSP-models in the immuno-oncology field.
“It usually takes at least half of the year to build a QSP model describing the basics of immune response,” said Oleg Demin Jr, a project leader. “IRT helps to shorten the time frame in incredible way: one can design a model template in few clicks. We described the processes in human body not only biologicaly, but also mathematically. For us cells, cytokines, proteins are all the variables, and the immunity is a complex system of equations. In fact, we have designed the human immune system on the computer and visualized it.”
The software consists of two parts: IRT database and the special IRT navigator to access it. Current database version describes about 10 types of immune cells, 10 surface molecules, 20 cytokines and 300 processes associated with an immune response in human blood, lymph nodes and inflamed tissue. There are annotations of each process, cell and cytokine with cross references and links to the external databases in every interactive scheme (passport of immune cell and cytokine source profile). Platform user can see valuation parameters fitted with help of specific “in vitro” models against in vitro data or calculated using in vivo data measured for healthy humans, and extended annotation of rate equations and parameters.
Modeler needs to choose the objects of interest, and IRT navigator automatically generates and saves a model template with selected players, processes and corresponding parameters. Variation of these parameters enables to obtain a virtual patient population which can be used for in silico trials. This approach strongly improves all the drug development process, especially in immune oncology field. Pharmacologists will be able to give right medication doses supported by mathematical models to patient group that is most suitable to examine drug efficiency.
The project is believed to have a great future. Some big pharmaceutical companies have already adopted the platform. Oleg Demin Jr also explained that the Immune Response Template is a big step on the way of representation the entire human body as a computer program.