Hey, so there's a new game out called Play to Cure, I think we should all check it out if we are into games and want to do what we can (if it doesn't seem like much) to help out with cancer research. Should add that it appears to be Android only for now.
Here's the description of what's going on from the Play Store link above, as written by the developers of the game itself.
"Beating cancer through a space game never seemed possible. Until now.
Every day, scientists across the globe are painstakingly analysing the genetic faults in thousands of cancer samples. They are looking for clues that will help develop new cancer treatments. This game let's you help.
Play to Cure™: Genes in Space is a pioneering way of helping these scientists in their mission to beat cancer sooner and all via this world first mobile game.
Instead of one lone scientist analysing a cancer data set by eye for hours, a group of gamers can get through that data simply by playing this space themed game and collecting a valuable and tradable substance dubbed, Element Alpha.
Having more eyes on the data means we could generate more accurate results. And crucially it means moving us closer to the day when all cancers are cured."
The actual gameplay itself is described as: "A mysterious substance is discovered in the voids of deep space. Dubbed Element Alpha, the substance is refined for use in medicine, engineering and construction and soon the Element Alpha industry explodes galaxy wide.
As an employee of Bifrost Industries, one of the biggest traders of the substance, your job is to collect as much Element Alpha as you can and trade it for upgrades to your spacecraft to help you manoeuvre the asteroid filled space course."
Here's the source for how I found out about the game. Over at Android Police.
If you don't feel like heading over, here's their write-up.
"In the game, you are collecting Element Alpha, which is a made up thing. You chart a course through fields of the glowing blue stuff, and you want to hit the most dense areas, of course. What you're really looking at is DNA microarray data. One of the best ways to determine what is causing cancers is to find out which genes have been lost or duplicated among sufferers. A DNA microarray looks at the gene frequencies in thousands of people, but that data has to interpreted.
When you fly through the Element Alpha, you are actually showing researchers where the copy number variations begin and end in the array data. Gene variations that are more common are more likely to be important in treating cancer. Computers can do some of this without human intervention, but humans are actually better than current software at noticing subtle changes in patterns, like in the DNA microarray data. The game isn't hugely challenging, but it's potentially really important stuff."
So yeah, go get your game on. I'll be installing this shortly. It actually looks like a pretty fun and decent game. If it helps researchers in some way, more power to it and those playing it.