Cancer Research UK mulls multiple video game options

Cancer Research UK, the funder of oncology studies, has deputized gamers to help solve research problems for fun. And the head of the group's digital efforts has a dozen or so research tasks that could be translated into video games, PMLive reported.

As revealed months back, Cancer Research UK plans to release a mobile game later this year that is built with data from real cancer genetics studies, building on its debut in the gaming world last year with the release of the cancer-image game called Cell Slider. The games enable thousands of laypeople from around the world to solve small problems from large data sets, with their collective efforts potentially lifting a huge burden from lab researchers.

Yet these games face the challenge of all online games: how to keep players' attention and provide a playing experience that drives them back for more.

"[At] the same time as playing that game, just coincidently, you will be helping us to accelerate cures for cancer, because it is going to be based on our gene data--you won't see the gene data, you'll just be playing a game," said Cancer Research UK's Amy Carton, as quoted by PMLive. Beyond enticing players with games that benefit humanity, the group knows it has to produce "a damn good game."  

Her organization has enlisted various forms of support from game developers and major tech outfits such as Facebook ($FB), Google ($GOOG) and Amazon Web Services ($AMZN). The group has made Cell Slider available for free like many online games, and one of the factors that limits its productivity in game development is funding.

"We have 11 other gaming mechanisms we would like to deploy, but to do that we need some help. So we are looking for funders, collaborators and partners that can come and help us realise our ambitions, to not only look at cancer data in the UK but at cancer data in the world," Carton said in the blog post. "And then not only cancer data, but all biomedical data."

- check out PMLive's blog article

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