Picture of a spaceship battling obstacles in space
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Video

Play to Cure: the game that analyses cancer data

Navigating a spaceship through an intergalactic obstacle course could help scientists tackle one of the toughest challenges facing cancer research today - big data.

Scientists at Cancer Research UK have come up with a smartphone game which turns the overwhelming amount of data generated by recent studies into a space adventure.

With the help of game developers Guerilla Tea, they have turned readouts of the genetic material in thousands of breast tumour samples into flight paths.

As each person plots a course along the path, they are helping scientists trace and record areas of genetic material that may hold cancer-causing faults.

Though scientists are currently doing this manually across the world, Cancer Research UK says by crowd sourcing some of this detective work they will be able to gather vital information about which genes trigger cancers much more quickly.

Dr Kat Arney from Cancer Research UK told BBC News how the game works.

Images courtesy of Cancer Research UK and Science Photo Library.

  • 04 Feb 2014
  • From the section Health