Flying spaceships and zapping asteroids aren't usually associated with breast cancer research. But scientists have developed a new cellphone game that decodes large volumes of genetic material from tumor samples.
"There is too much data to cope with and we need human eyes and brains to really understand it," said Dr. Kat Arney of Cancer Research UK.
The game is designed so that players mimic what scientists would do if they were looking for rogue cells in a lab. Players map a route through an asteroid field which is really the genetic data of more than 2,000 breast cancer patients. Scientists are looking for patterns in the DNA.
"Every route you fly will be fed back to scientists in Cambridge and will help them hone in on key parts of the genome that they need to be looking at to understand how cancer cells are growing and going wrong," Arney explained.
Scientists say early experiments show gaming results have been up to 15 percent more accurate than current methods used to analyze data.
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