Help scientists in the fight against cancer with Play to Cure: Genes in Space

By , on February 14, 2014
Last modified 10 years, 2 months ago

It's not often that you get to play games and do something good, and even rarer that playing could actually improve human life. But that is exactly what Play to Cure: Genes in Space enables you to do.

Developed by Cancer Research UK, the game actually has you analysing genetic data to aid scientists in their search for the causes of breast cancer.

The game is broken in to two main sections. In the first stage you are shown a map of a section of space filled with a valuable space dust. You must plot a course through the densest areas to collect as much of this valuable resource as possible.

In fact, this star map is actually genetic data. By highlighting these areas you are indicating to scientists where possible mutations and problems with the genes are likely to be. By gathering every player's input, they can aggregate the information in order to dramatically streamline their research process.

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You are then put in charge of a spacecraft and asked to follow you route through the dust field. Using either tilt or touch controls, you dodge between rings that represent the course changes you have selected, while meteors threaten to batter your craft into submission.

Strangely, in our brief time with it, we had more fun simply mapping out courses through the field rather than flying through them. We're not entirely sure how our actions translate into useful data, either. However, if you are happy to give the folks at Cancer Research UK your email address, you can find out for yourself.

If it sounds like a worthwhile use of your time (it probably is)  you can plot a course to the App Store to grab Play to Cure: Genes in Space for free right now. Even if you only play it once, you just helped the fight against cancer.

[App Store link