Can Gaming Cure Cancer?

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Crowdsourcing has taken a step in the right direction, says an article in today’s New York Times. Researchers in Cambridge, England, have worked with a Scottish software company to build a “Space Invaders inspired” mobile game that uses players interactions to analyze gene sequences from cancer patients. ” The hope is to reduce the time it takes to study these genetic faults from years to a just few months, while also giving users a downloadable smartphone game that can be played during their morning commutes… In early trials, the gaming results have been up to 15 percent more accurate than existing methods used to crunch the cancer data,” says the article.

The article also gives a fascinating history of some of the impressive breakthroughs already achieved by using games in health care, including abstracting complex problems into playable metaphors and leveraging social competition dynamics to drive interest.

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