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Smartphone game lets you pilot a spaceship to help tackle cancer

On the surface it may seem that you're plotting a journey through space (game data above), but the Genes in Space app is really a data-crunching powerhouse that helps scientists identify the DNA faults (micro-array data below) that could lead to cancer. Images courtesy Cancer Research UK.

Some people may tell you that playing video games is a waste of your time. But they're definitely wrong... and here's why: Cancer Research UK has released a smartphone game which enables players to help tackle cancer by piloting customizable spaceships through a series of exciting missions.

In the game, which is available for free on Android and iOS devices, players use their spaceships to collect quantities of the valuable and powerful 'Element Alpha'. By finding the best routes to pick up the 'Element Alpha', players are really plotting a course through genetic data, thus helping Cancer Research UK scientists spot the subtle patterns in the data that correspond to DNA faults.

Thousands of people playing the game could significantly speed up the process of searching through this genetic data for clues in the quest for new cancer treatments.

Download the game from Apple App Store or from Google Play.

Watch a trailer for 'Genes in Space'. Video courtesy Cancer Research UK.
Find out how 'Genes in Space' was developed. Video courtesy Cancer Research UK.

- Andrew Purcell

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