In a new effort, tech giants are working together to design a mobile game in the hopes that it will accelerate the search for new cancer drugs. Led by Cancer Research UK, these tech gurus are aiming to develop a game where phone users can sort through data—except fun.
The hardest part, of course, is getting to the game. Somehow, gamers and programmers must come together to have a fun way to crowdsource this data processing to create “citizen scientists.”
“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 which need to be analyzed by the human eye – and this could take years,” said Carlos Caldas at Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute.
“By harnessing the collective power of citizen scientists we’ll accelerate the discovery of new ways to diagnose and treat cancer much more precisely.”
Cancer kills more than 7.5 million people a year. Different cancer varieties are developing from different genes, so scientists studying the disease are hitting roadblocks in discovering a genetic profile for predisposition
This type of research generates colossal amounts of data that need to be analyzed, CRUK said as it announced the gaming project. And while advances in technology mean scientists can process data faster than ever, much of it still needs to be analyzed by people rather than machines.
“The human eye can detect subtle changes that machines are not programmed to look for – leading to serendipitous discoveries providing clues to the causes and drivers of the disease,” the charity said.
From March 1-3, these groups got together to work on building this game with plans to launch sometime in 2013.
Previously the Airspace covered how video games were helping surgeons at the University of Texas improve their success with scalpels.