Tech Giants To Jointly Work On Furthering Cancer Research Through A Mobile Game

Tech Experts from multiple leaders in the technological field are going to assist a British Charity for cancer, by developing a unique game-based research technique.

Project leader Cancer Research UK has envisaged a new approach wherein smartphone users could play a game & help offer vital scientific data at the same time. The project, loosely associated with a broader concept of ‘Citizen Scientist’ is not based on shared cloud computing, but would rely on human intelligence to spot anomalies & speed up research & development. The Charity has approached tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook to conceptualize, design & deploy the game-based approach which would entice users to voluntarily take part in the global endeavor to arrest the Cancer epidemic.

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How’s the project taking shape?

40 computer programmers, gamers, graphic designers and other specialists took part in a weekend “GameJam” to turn the charity’s raw genetic data into a game format. The basis of the entire project could be better explained by the statement from Carlos Caldas at Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute, “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. 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

One can correlate the concept to the CAPTCHA method that servers use to confirm the user is a genuine human. These patterns can be easily deciphered by a person, but are supposedly non-readable by a computer. Based on the same, “By harnessing the collective power of citizen scientists we’ll accelerate the discovery of new ways to diagnose and treat cancer much more precisely” added Carlos.

Facebook, which is quite famous for supporting such a collective endeavor had its engineering site director say, “The company believes the best way to solve a problem is to bring smart people together to ‘hack’ a solution”. Cancer research & other medical related studies have often been supported by these tech companies. Given their vast resources, medicine can truly benefit from such synergy. What do you think?

Image Courtesy | bumrungrad

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