Gaming for the cure: players complete 6 months of cancer analysis in a month

People power!

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Step aside, wearable tech: there's a new medical marvel in technology. In just one month, mobile gamers have helped Cancer Research to decode six months' worth of DNA data.

Instead of a lone scientist sitting alone decoding the data for eight hours a day, five days a week over the course of six months, Cancer Research turned the painstaking analysis work into an intergalactic space adventure called Play to Cure: Genes in Space.

It requires a human eye to spot patterns in the data because computers aren't precise enough to pin-point them, and by turning it into a game the charity spread the work far and wide.

Cancer batting

In the month since the app launched, players around the world have made 1.5 million classifications by playing for over 53,000 hours, thus speeding up researchers' work towards a cure for cancer.

Hannah Keartland, Cancer Research UK's citizen science lead, said: "You don't need to wear a lab coat to be a hero. It's still early days but we believe the collective force of global gamers could have a massive impact and speed up our life-saving research."

If you want to be part of the solution, you can download Cancer Research's app for Android or iOS.

And next time your parents tell you off for using your phone at dinner you can be all "Well excuse me for curing cancer!" and flounce off. If you want.