‘Genes in Space’: Fighting Cancer Through Gaming

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Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Harpal Kumar, CEO of Cancer Research UK, and Charles Manby, ‘Create the Change’ Campaign Chair at Cancer Research UK, discuss the company’s app allowing gamers to play to actually help in the research to fight cancer. They speak on Bloomberg Television's “The Pulse.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Long did it take?

What do you hope to reap from the data you collect from it?

With the advent of newer technology, like genome sequencing, we have the ability to understand what is going on in the heart of ourselves.

-- our cells.

We are generating vast amounts of data.

As yet, we do not have computer algorithms that are accurate enough to be able to analyze that data.

At the moment, we are having to analyze most of it using the human eye.

That takes huge amounts of times and huge numbers of people.

Although we are generating the data, it is taking months and months to analyze that data.

We have the idea that if we could crowd source a solution to this analysis, that would enable us to crunch through the data faster.

We can give the outputs to our scientists to do what they do best.

They interpret and understand how differences are giving rise to cancer.

That was the genesis of the idea.

We have been working on it just under a year.

We have had another experiment in a different area of cancer research.

That has worked really well.

We have had 2 million people doing that over the course of the last year.

We thought this would be a great application.

It would really help us speed up our research.

What is the app?

A lot of people want to download it and want to start using it.

What are you looking for?

It is a game.

It can be played on an iphone or an android.

You can download it and spend as little as five minutes on it.

You are playing as a computer game.

Underneath the surface of the game, what you're actually doing is analyzing the data.

The results of those analyses will go back to our scientists.

As long as we get enough people doing it, we will be able to get the accuracy that we want out of it.

This is a brilliant idea.

Why do we not think about this before?

Did we have to wait until now when gaming is a big part of the way we live today because we are addicted to our mobiles?

It is a link to the creation of the data and the ability to analyze it.

Tell us about the create the change campaign.

What are you aiming to achieve?

It is to help cancer research uk's fund 100 million pounds of its contribution.

What will happen to the institute?

The vision of the institute is to solve the fundamental biology of all major diseases facing mankind.

It is a bold vision.

It is global in scope.

It is the largest medical research institute in europe.

It will draw on the strengths of scientists from around the globe.

It is an iconic project and one of excellence.

That is why i got involved.

When will we realize that this is successful or not?

One or two years?

You need more time?

You talked about 2 million gamers.

Do you need to reach that kind of scope?

Is there a point where you say this is going to work?

We will know in months.

What we are doing -- we think we need about 50 people to analyze each section of data.

As long as we can get -- the more people we can get doing it, the more data we will analyze.

It is about speeding up our research and getting to the answers that will help us develop new treatments faster.

What progress are we making in discovering a cure for the various forms of cancer?

Great progress.

Survival rates in the u.k. have doubled in the last 40 years.

We see a steadily rising curve in that sense as we look into the future.

We think we will be able to make progress against some of the areas where we have not made as much progress in the past.

We are getting now, upwards of 95% survival.

We are near now where the pace of progress is quite fast.

You can create in less games.

--and less -- endless games.

Where the start of this journey.

The cost becomes conceivable and the ability to use that to give the scientists and clinicians the raw materials for which to create treatments and care's -- we are at a remarkable place.

Genes in space.

That is the app that we can download.

Create the change campaign is the campaign.

You are trying to raise 100 million pounds.

I hope to say we are nearly halfway there.

Thank you.

Everyone needs to start gaming.

If you are a teenager, it will be very hard to tell your mom off for being on the computer for six hours a day.


This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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