A new smartphone game released by Cancer Research UK aims to help in the ongoing research of genetic faults that can cause cancer by harnessing the time of gamers.
According to the research organization, Play to Cure: Genes in Space analyzes gene data as users play the Space Invaders style mobile game.The mobile release will help scientists analyze data generated by a type of technology called gene microarrays. These are used to search for regions of the genome that are often faulty in different cancers. Researchers aim to find the gene that promotes the development of cancer in order to design a drug to stop it.
Microarrays allow for scientists to analyze data for thousands of tumor samples; however, the huge amount of data generated is difficult to trawl through.
Throughout the game, complex scientific data will be simultaneously analyzes and fed back to Cancer Research UK scientists to help pinpoint faults in genes that can lead to cancer.
"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 Hannah Keartland, in charge of the citizen science project at Cancer Research UK.
"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."