Citizen Science: Public to hitch cancer cure hunt
Giants of the technology world and cancer researchers are teaming as much as give you the way to let most of the people hunt for cures for cancer.
It is an try to mirror many of the success in unleashing the general public seeking objects in space.
Cancer Research UK, in conjunction with Amazon, Facebook and Google, is attempting to get people to look for mutations in DNA which bring about cancer.
The data has to be analysed by eye, but there aren’t enough scientists.
There have been rapid progress in understanding the precise sequence of a tumour’s DNA.
Combining this knowledge from multiple tumours allows researchers to seek for the critical mutations which turn a traditional healthy portion of the body right into a deadly cancer.
But the quantity of knowledge involved is giant and computers cannot find the delicate differences which can give clues to the genetic causes of cancers, which in turn can result in treatments.
Prof Carlos Caldas, from the University of Cambridge, said: “Future cancer patients will receive treatment targeted to the genetic fingerprint in their tumour and we are hoping this exciting project will bring forward the day this becomes a reality.
“We’re making great progress in understanding the genetic reasons cancer develops.
“However the clues to why some drugs will work and a few won’t, are held in data which must be analysed by the human eye – and this may take years.
“By harnessing the collective power of citizen scientists we’ll accelerate the invention of recent how you can diagnose and treat cancer a lot more precisely.”
Researchers, computer programmers and games designers will meet this weekend to locate far of converting the dense raw data into something more “game-like”.
The chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Dr Harpal Kumar, said: “We’re bringing together the cream of the UK’s technology specialists with our scientists as a collective force to accelerate cures for cancer outside the laboratory.
“This exciting event will provide a channel to assist our scientists discover new genetic drivers of cancer that may otherwise take years to spot.”
They aim to have the project up and running by the summer.