Multiscale Modeling in the Clinic: Drug Design and Development

Colleen E. Clancy, Gary An, William R. Cannon, Yaling Liu, Elebeoba E. May, Peter Ortoleva, Aleksander S. Popel, James P. Sluka, Jing Su, Paolo Vicini, Xiaobo Zhou, David M. Eckmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


A wide range of length and time scales are relevant to pharmacology, especially in drug development, drug design and drug delivery. Therefore, multiscale computational modeling and simulation methods and paradigms that advance the linkage of phenomena occurring at these multiple scales have become increasingly important. Multiscale approaches present in silico opportunities to advance laboratory research to bedside clinical applications in pharmaceuticals research. This is achievable through the capability of modeling to reveal phenomena occurring across multiple spatial and temporal scales, which are not otherwise readily accessible to experimentation. The resultant models, when validated, are capable of making testable predictions to guide drug design and delivery. In this review we describe the goals, methods, and opportunities of multiscale modeling in drug design and development. We demonstrate the impact of multiple scales of modeling in this field. We indicate the common mathematical and computational techniques employed for multiscale modeling approaches used in pharmacometric and systems pharmacology models in drug development and present several examples illustrating the current state-of-the-art models for (1) excitable systems and applications in cardiac disease; (2) stem cell driven complex biosystems; (3) nanoparticle delivery, with applications to angiogenesis and cancer therapy; (4) host-pathogen interactions and their use in metabolic disorders, inflammation and sepsis; and (5) computer-aided design of nanomedical systems. We conclude with a focus on barriers to successful clinical translation of drug development, drug design and drug delivery multiscale models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2591-2610
Number of pages20
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Drug delivery
  • Mathematical
  • Multiscale modeling
  • Pharmacology
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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