Technology

New videogame fights cancer | Smartphone version available

You own a smartphone and you want to help discover new treatments for breast cancer? Then all you have to do is to download in your device the Play to Cure: Genes in Space and start the game. In each level, you need to maneuver your ship in order to collect as much of the substance Item Alfa, while avoiding or destroying asteroids coming straight at you. This intergalactic scene is not just random, it is based on genetic data from tumor samples, the locations where shown either rocks or Alfa Element to represent regions of the genome where there could be damage to DNA. Thus, the course will pick on each track indicates substantially scientists specifically where you need to look for cancerous mutations.

Play to Cure Genes in Space

Play to Cure Genes in Space

The game was released in early February for iPhone and mobile phones with Android, it’s free and developed by the software company Guerilla Tea, on behalf of the British charitable organization Cancer Research UK. The foundation hopes will attract thousands of holders of a smart” phones, which in this way will analyze a huge volume of samples, faster and reliable than any algorithm, thus paving the way for new treatments. Although it is the first exclusive for smartphone, the Play to Cure: Genes in Space essentially an evolution of a trend that has occurred for nearly five years: the videogame is played via the Internet and based on real scientific data, the analysis of which behind every possible and impossible task to carry out the players.

Play to Cure Genes in Space

Play to Cure Genes in Space

Play to Cure Genes in Space

Play to Cure Genes in Space

In this way, people without any specificity in biology, geology or astronomy have the opportunity to participate in investigations aimed at solving important and difficult scientific questions. One such question is the way the human brain processes visual information, with online vinteogkeim Eyewire MIT in Massachusetts to refer to the players to reconstruct three dimensions each of the neurons in the retina of the eye, so that American scientists to help to map the corresponding neural networks. Several other web games also follow the logic of the puzzle, such as Foldit, University of Washington or Phylo Canadian University McGill, whose aim is to find relevant how proteins are folded and aligned DNA sequences in genes that are common to several species.

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Cell

Cancer Cell

Other times the researchers choose the plot to be more reminiscent of an adventure game, as the Forgotten Island University Syracuse, where the player plays the scientist on a mysterious island, which undertakes to classify unknown species. Nor missing applications mentioning tournament, most recently the Cropland Capture, which in April will declare the 3 users who identified most areas of arable land in satellite images of the planet. Lots, according to the authors, should be established in order to obtain experts for the first time a clear picture of the ability of the planet to feed the growing population. Currently, the games that help science are beyond the 30, only in  Zooniverse, which is the largest online repository with the ScienceGameCenter, web hosted 22 such programs. Of these, Foldit has received the spotlight back in 2011, when players discovered within three months the structure of the enzyme that plays a major role in infectious disease in monkeys, something that scientists had failed previous 13 years. A year later, the users of Planet Hunters spotted the first planet orbiting a four star.

By Nicole P.

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