Genentech backs development of video game for kids with cancer

Video games have been gaining momentum in healthcare because of various patient benefits, and Genentech's foundation has awarded grant money to propel a game about fighting cancer into the hands of pediatric patients, Medical Marketing & Media reported.

Genentech, of course, is a subsidiary of Roche ($RHHBY), the largest provider of cancer drugs in the world. Through its foundation, Genentech is backing a future version of the video game series Re-Mission, which developer HopeLab plans to distribute to pediatric cancer institutes, MM&M reported.

Cigna last month touted its support of "Re-Mission 2: Nanobot's Revenge," a video game designed for play on mobile devices with Google ($GOOG) Android and Apple ($APPL) iOS operating systems. It's one of the latest Re-Mission games from HopeLab, founded 12 years ago by Pam Omidyar, who is a former cancer researcher and the wife of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Researchers have linked Re-Mission play by pediatric cancer patients to such benefits as improved adherence to medicines and more positive attitudes about their treatment. Stanford researchers last year studied the effects of the game with MRI scans, finding that the game spurred patients' reward-related neural circuits.

In 2007 the game was released on CD and DVD. Re-Mission supporters hope that the mobile app version of the game will be distributed widely to children fighting cancer. (Is it too soon for kids to start asking what a CD is?) MM&M reports that since Aug. 21 the app has been downloaded more than 2,000 times.

- check out the MM&M article