Cancer Research UK launches Play to Cure

Game offers mobile phone owners chance to analyse gene data

Mobile gamers can now contribute to vital scientific research thanks to Cancer Research UK's Play to Cure: Genes in Space.

"Every single second gamers spend playing our Smartphone game directly helps our work to beat cancer sooner. Our scientists' research produces colossal amounts of data, some of which can only be analysed by the human eye - a process which can take years," said project head Hannah Keartland.

"We urge people to give two minutes of their time wherever and whenever they can - whether they're on their daily commute or in the hairdressers having a blow dry. Together, our free moments will help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured."

The game has a sci-fi feel but the mechanics actually have players analysing gene data, looking for the faulty genomes that can be a sign of cancer.

Latest comments (5)

Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve4 years ago
This is definitely a forward thinking idea. I hope this turns out to be as much of a success as previous crowd-calculating efforts.

I wonder if they have (or plan to have) micro-transactions that go directly as donations to the charity?
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
I think it is wrong when charities use donations to engage in blatant political activity.
Like this:
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Oliver Thomson Brown Studying PhD by Research in Physics, Heriot-Watt University4 years ago
Scientific Games with a Purpose (GwaPs) represent a growing trend in the more general field of serious games, the grand-daddy of course being Foldit. In principle people are much better than computers at visual processing tasks, and a game is a good interaction medium between humans and computers. The 'difficult bit' is making the visual processing task fun! Though I've yet to try it for myself it seems like CRUK have managed that well, and for a wonderful cause too. There are also 'soft' benefits to such projects, such as increased public engagement in research.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 4 years ago
@Thomas I started playing on it yesterday, it's a free game and no microtransactions. :)

And I've actually found this more fun than a lot of 'real games' on the app market if I'm honest! Just simple honest fun, no pay to advance or pay to win. But in any case it's great to see more gaming to help with medical advancements.

@Oliver I remember that very well! And it's definitely great to see how developers have visualised these problems.
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Brian Beacom Programmer, Guerilla Tea4 years ago
Thanks for the kind words :) It was rather fun to make too. Very interesting to get an inside look at how these things are done and, of course, a very worthwhile cause - looking forward to seeing the outcome now once the scientists get their hands on the output.
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