Cancer Research UK speeds up search with mobile game

The cure for cancer is an on-going global problem to solve. Scientists from Cancer Research UK have recently announced a new plan for tackling the humungous task of analysing all the data. This is a necessary task in order to move forward with the development of Cancer treatment drugs.

Carlos Caldas at Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute explains: “We’re making great progress in understanding the genetic reasons cancer develops. But the clues to why some drugs will work and some won’t are held in data that needs to be analysed by the human eye – and this could take years.”

Cancer Research UK has decided to utilise gamification and work through the data using the collective power of citizen scientists.

In conjunction with Amazon Web Services, Facebook, and Google, the UK charity has plans to develop a new mobile game which incorporates investigating vital scientific data into social media and mobile game play.

Rumoured to be called GeneRun, a group of computer programmers, gamers, and graphic designers took part in a weekend long session to plan how best to transform the raw genetic data currently held, into a usable game format.

Rather than treating patients based on the type of cancer they have, Cancer Research UK is trying to find ways to treat cancer based on its own unique genetic pattern. Cancer Research UK believe that the solution to the future of cancer treatment is present in their data, however the sheer volume of it makes identifying the various genetic patterns of cancer an incredibly lengthy process.

“The human eye can detect subtle changes that machines aren’t programmed to look for – leading to serendipitous discoveries providing clues to the causes and drivers of the disease. With the collective power of hundreds of thousands of people across the globe helping our scientists to analyse this data, we could drastically speed up research.” explains Cancer Research UK.

Carlos Caldas added: “By harnessing the collective power of citizen scientists we’ll accelerate the discovery of new ways to diagnose and treat cancer much more precisely.”

The game is in build phase and should be ready for release in the second half of 2013.