Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | 11:03 AM
Gaming is not always just for fun. We’ve teamed up with the charity Cancer Research UK and other technology companies to help design and develop a mobile game to accelerate cures for cancer. Our goal is ambitious: to allow anyone with a smart phone and five minutes to spare to play an enjoyable game that will simultaneously investigate vital scientific data.
More than 50 ‘hackers’ – computer programmers, gamers, graphic designers and other specialists – joined with six Cancer Research Scientists last weekend in a ‘GameJam’ to turn Cancer Research UK’s raw gene data into a game format, and to identify new, engaging and scientifically robust ways for the public to help analyse gene data. An agency will use the hackathon’s results to build the game, tentatively titled GeneRun, for launch in the summer of 2013.
Cancer Research UK is investing in studies to discover the genetic faults driving cancer. This research produces colossal amounts of data. We believe the collective power of hundreds of thousands of people across the globe helping our scientists to analyse this data could drastically speed up research – hopefully saving lives faster. Citizen science is a new way of including the public in scientific research outside the laboratory.
This is the charity’s second collaboration with the Citizen Science Alliance. The first game, Cell Slider, launched as a Beta test in October 2012 to analyse archived cancer tissue samples.
It's encouraging to see how technology and the collective power of people across the globe can help to find new ways to accelerate cures for cancer. Let’s hope GeneRun provides a lot of fun - and inspiring treatments.