Combining Crowdsourcing & Gaming for Cancer Research

There are more than 200 types of cancers currently known to us, and with new mutations of each coming to light regularly. Cancer research involves considerable time and resources, making it tough to keep up the speed of cure with the speed of these discoveries. To help increase the momentum of this research, the scientific community has turned their attention towards a resource gaining notoriety for making amazing technologies possible.

Online crowdsourcing, that brought us products like the Kite Patch (mosquito repellant), Scanadu (bio metric tracker), SIGMO (voice translator), etc., is now its stepping up its game with ‘Reverse The Odds’, a mobile application that combines crowdsourcing and gamification to help solve the issue of limited resources to some extent.

The game, created by Cancer Research UK for the Stand Up To Cancer campaign, is completely free to download across iOS, Android, Amazon phones and tablets.  The story line follows a girl who is caught in a fantasy world of magical creatures who become grey & lifeless when her energy level goes down. Players have to conquer each level to restore the world from a wasteland to a wonderland. Users progress through levels by analyzing images of real cancer cells to aid researchers extract vital information, as well as by answering questions around how bright the cells are or how many particular types of cell are present.

Data collected from the game will be used by Cancer Research UK and fed back to research teams to understand cancer and find new ways to beat cancer sooner. Since it is a crowdsourcing platform, players do not need to worry about the accuracy of their results.

Stand Up To Cancer is a joint national fundraising campaign from Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK, focusing on translational cancer research through online and televised efforts. Hannah Keartland from Cancer Research UK is going to be speaking at the 5th Annual Health 2.0 Europe Conference in London (Nov 10-12, 2014). Be there to see this technology in action, live. Register here!

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