I hope this turns into a distributed computing project we can all participate in. Older news story, October 2006: The virtual medical man Excerpt:Dr Marco Viceconti and hundreds of experts from all over the world will meet at the Université Libre de Bruxelles to discuss the virtual physiological human, or VPH, which aims to integrate efforts to model the workings of organs in a computer to create a virtual body. The dream is that one day, thanks to this effort, a computer model will be able to bleed like we do and see the same cascade of clotting factors go into action. Immune cells will stream to the virtual wound, and biochemical stress reactions will send chemical shockwaves rippling through the body. Simulations could be used to test new anti-scarring agents, healing pharmaceuticals or drugs to calm a wounded firefighter The first tranche of around £50 million is expected to be announced for a decade-long European VPH effort costing around £350 million. Although it will never be possible to make a true virtual human being, from genes and proteins within cells, to substructures of cells to organs and, of course, the body as a whole, Dr Viceconti believes that even partial incarnations will help medical research. The latest news is that the VPH has passed a real-world test: Supercomputer 'virtual human' to help fight disease The combined supercomputing power of Britain and America has enabled scientists to simulate an Aids infection in the virtual being, so they could see how effective an Aids drug really is in blocking a key protein used by the lethal virus to multiply. Instead of giving a patient a course of drugs and then seeing if they work, the hope is that this can be done in a virtual human first, so the patient is given the one that works. Although, at around £8000 of computer time alone (about the same as a long range weather forecast), this calculations are too costly to use in the NHS, the price of computer power is falling all the time, he says. Another factor is the rise of computer grids, which allow raw supercomputing power to be tapped as easily as we get electricity through a socket.