Cancer Research UK's smartphone app Play to Cure: Genes in Space has already seen its players analyze at least six months worth of DNA data for cancer research, the organization announced today. That's pretty impressive when you consider that the app was released on February 4 of this year.
According to data released by Cancer Research UK, players have made 1.5 million classifications by spotting patterns in the data. This accomplishment would have taken a scientist six months to analyze by eye on his own. More than 53,000 hours or six and a half years of the game have been played so far.
"We're astounded by this fantastic support from citizen scientists across the world which goes to show – you don't need to wear a lab coat to be a hero," said Hannah Keartland, Cancer Research UK's citizen science lead. "It's crucial we don't stop here because the more people who play in their spare moments, the quicker we'll make a difference. There never again needs to be such a thing as a boring queue. It's still early days but we believe the collective force of global gamers could have a massive impact and speed up our life-saving research."
"We're incredibly grateful to everyone who is giving their spare moments to help us analyze genetic data," added Professor Carlos Caldas, senior group leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge. "We're working hard to develop better drugs, improve the diagnosis of cancer patients and understand why some treatments work and others won't – to spare unpleasant side effects. Computers can't analyze our research data with 100 per cent accuracy – we need the human eye for greater precision. It can take us years to decode the huge amounts of data generated by research. But with everyone's help the boost to our work could be enormous."
If you'd like to get in on the fun and help out, you can do so by visiting iTunes and downloading the iOS app.