Cell Phones Join the Search for Cancer Cures
Cancer research often involves laboratory machines, educated scientists and a lot of resources to gather research. Although finding cures for cancer can be a long and strenuous process, researchers hope that the average person with a smartphone can volunteer one's time to help with the cause, making it somewhat easier. According to Cancer Research UK, a device is currently being developed that will enlist everyday smartphone users to analyze real cancer data as they play. The game, "GeneGame," will be created by Dundee-Based Guerilla Tea.
"We're right at the start of a world-first initiative that will result in a game that we hope hundred of thousands of people across the globe will want to play over and over again and, at the same time, generate robust scientific data analysis," the citizen science lead for Cancer Research UK, Amy Carton said according to BBC News. "Combining complicated cancer research data and gaming technology in this way has never been done before and it's certainly no mean feat but we're working with the best scientific and technology brains in the business."
According to the organization, the public will be able to help classify an immense set of genetic data using the site, Cell Slider. Researchers stated that by enlisting people's help, the data could be sorted in three months as opposed to the average 18 months it normally would take real scientists. The charity hopes that this new device in conjunction with advances in technology could lead to the development of better cancer treatment options and screening tools.
The first initiative between Cancer Research UK and Cell SliderTM dates back to October 2012. Since then, over 200,000 people from more than 100 countries had visited the website and contributed to 1.6 million classifications.
"With GeneGame we are being bolder, braver and bigger and we hope that by the end of the year we'll have a game that not only is fun to play but will play a crucial role in developing new cancer cures sooner - ultimately saving lives," Stated Dr. Joanna Reynolds, the director of science information at Cancer Research UK.
GeneGame is expected to be launched late this year.