Cancer Research UK has just unveiled a world first for analysing data from tumours. It’s a free smartphone game called ‘Genes in Space’ in which players fly their spaceship through trails of ‘Element Alpha’. The clever part is that Element Alpha represents actual genetic microarray data. As the spaceship journeys through the game it provides the vital information – showing if parts of the DNA have been deleted or copied. Both of these changes can contribute to the development and progression of cancer. Compared to a computer the human eye is far better at analysing microarray data, but it would take scientists years to go through all the available information. By harnessing the power of ‘citizen scientists’ researchers can trawl through huge volumes of data much faster, hopefully moving towards a cure for cancer sooner.
Written by Rhiannon Grant
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.