Sim-e-Child

Several member of the Health-e-Child consortium have started work on a project designed to fulfil the goals laid out by Objective ICT-2009.5.4: International Cooperation on Virtual Physiological Human. The project will develop a grid-Enabled Platform for Simulations in Paediatric Cardiology working towards the Personalized Virtual Child Heart. More information can be found at c. The Sim-e-Child Consortium The Sim-e-Child Portal  

Proposal Abstract

There is a high demand for patient specific cardiovascular disease therapeutics. Paediatric cardiology, in particular, faces difficult challenges due to the evolving nature of a child’s heart and vascular system. Comprehensive and accurate computer models reconstructed from patient specific data and simulated physical constraints are needed to help determine better and more reliably risk stratification to improve and personalize therapies, and ultimately to decrease morbidity and increase survival of patients.

The Sim-e-Child project proposes to develop a grid-enabled platform for large scale simulations in paediatric cardiology, providing a collaborative environment for constructing and validating multi-scale and personalized models of a growing heart and vessels.

The project will establish an international cooperation, by linking the EC funded Health-e-Child project with leading institutions such as the American College of Cardiology, Johns Hopkins University, Technical University of Munich, and Siemens Corporate Research. Sim-e-Child is an extension of the Health-e-Child platform that:

·         Interconnects the Health-e-Child database with new data from two prospective US multicenter studies;

·         Enhances and expands the Health-e-Child heart model with existing models of the aorta, aortic valve and mitral valve, and with computational fluid dynamics;

·         Integrates the Health-e-Child Gateway and Case Reasoner with versatile tools for simulation workflow composition (iKDDTM) and sharing of scientific experiments (SciPort).

The objective of the Sim-e-Child is to strengthen the impact of the Health-e-Child project by creating an international simulation and validation environment for paediatric cardiology, supported by integrated data repositories. The project will advance the state-of-the-art by providing comprehensive and patient specific models for the dynamic and longitudinal interactions occurring in the left heart, with a focus on the congenital aortic arch disease and repair. 

Concept and project objectives

The Sim-e-Child grant application intends to enhance the Health-e-Child cardiac models by establishing an international collaboration beyond the European research area in order to validate the models on additional data (1400 cases).With the support of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) the Johns Hopkins University Hospital (JHU) will validate the developed heart modelling capabilities using ongoing clinical trial databases, i.e. the Coarctation Of the Aorta Stent Trial [COAST] and the National Registry of Genetically Triggered Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Cardiovascular Conditions [GenTAC] in collaboration with I.R.C.C.S. Bambino Gesù (OPBG) in Italy, one of the Health-e-Child clinical partners.

In addition, the Health-e-Child models will be expanded by integrating the existing Siemens Corporate Research (SCR) models of the aorta, aortic valve and mitral valve together with blood flow modelling and flow visualization from the Technical University of Munich. The new and comprehensive heart model will be applied to congenital aortic disease, thus enriching the portfolio of applications available in Health-e-Child and broadening its end-user community.

To support all these activities, Sim-e-Child will develop a grid-enabled platform for large scale simulations in paediatric cardiology, by integrating the Health-e-Child Gateway and Case Reasoner with powerful tools for simulation workflow composition (iKDDTM) and sharing of scientific experiments (SciPort). Thus, the project will provide a collaborative environment for constructing and validating multi-scale and personalized models of a growing child’s heart and vessels. Advanced clinical measurements will be derived, such as wall stress, wall shear stress, elasticity, distensibility, stiffness, fluid structure interactions and aortic wall bio-energetics. The models will allow the simulation of interventions on morphology, dynamics, and hemodynamics of the aorta to make personalized predictions of optimal therapy.

The Sim-e-Child collaborative project therefore directly addresses all three expected outcomes of this cooperation call:

 a)      Interoperability: The clinical databases of JHU and Health-e-Child will be federated to increase the pool of available patients for clinical model validation. The Sim-e-Child platform will be built on open standards to ensure interoperability and reusability of the results.

b)      Tools and services: New tools will be made available for global cooperation: the web- and grid-enabled Sim-e-Child platform will include components for modelling, simulation and collaboration. New and comprehensive heart models will be developed using this enabling facility.

c)      International validation environment: The Sim-e-Child platform will provide components for joint verification and validation of models. Both existing and new heart models will be validated collaboratively by the clinical partners in the EU and US.