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

Gaming for the cure: gamers decode 6 months of medical data in a month
POW! Take that, cancer!
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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 (opens in new tab).

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.

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.