Gamers Help Scientists Analyze 2.5 million Tumor Samples

Reverse the Odds, a mobile game developed by Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, invites users to find patterns in real tumor tissue in order to help scientists learn more about cancer. 

Reverse the Odds, a mobile game developed by Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, invites users to find patterns in real tumor tissue in order to help scientists learn more about cancer. Dr. Anne Kiltie and professor Gareth Thomas are two scientists who use the game to aid their research. Dr Kiltie hopes to understand when patients diagnosed with muscle invasive bladder cancer are more likely to respond to radiotherapy or should be offered surgery, while Professor Thomas is studying the body’s response to lung cancer and how we could make our own defense systems better at tackling the disease.

The analysis of the scientific data is interspersed between stages of the game, which is about re-building the world of little creatures called Odds. Players are shown images of magnified samples of tumor tissue donated by former patients. By answering simple questions about the images, like whether there are certain shapes and colors present in the picture, what portion of the picture they take up, or how bright the colors are, players are helping the scientists to learn more about the cancer and devise better future treatments.  

The same cell slide data is studied by many other users to ensure accuracy and no single person's diagnosis or treatment is affected by the actions of the players. However, when the analysis of the player matches that of people around the world, he or she gets extra perks in the game.

So far, more than 2.5 million samples have been analyzed, a number that would have been impossible to complete by the scientists alone. Dr, Anne Kilte says:

“The contribution of citizen scientists to this project is really fantastic for us, because it’s allowing us to be able to look at far more samples and far more proteins then we’d ever be able to do here in the lab. So I think the impact to this citizen science project on our research is that it’s going to help us to identify these proteins that will ultimately help patients, [...] it should actually increase the chances of them surviving”

Learn more about the game and it’s utility to the scientists from this video:

Photos: Cancer Research UK

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less

The media won't get less politicized. News consumers must get smarter.

How do you do justice to the truth in a headline-driven world?

Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • The internet is parasitic on traditional media sources, says Keith Whittington. Traditional news outlets do the hard reporting to generate the facts and notable opinions that other outlets respond to.
  • The greatest challenge to truth in journalism is that social media presents news stories out of context; we no longer see news among other news articles, and we may only ever see the headline without the detail and nuance required.
  • Media institutions are working to tackle these challenges, but until then it is our responsibility as citizens and consumers to get smarter about how we navigate news feeds and the hyper-partisan press.
Keep reading Show less

7 most valuable college majors for the future

The most valuable college majors will prepare students for a world right out a science fiction novel.

Harvard University
Technology & Innovation
  • The future of work is going to require a range of skills learned that take into account cutting edge advancements in technology and science.
  • The most valuable college majors in the future will prepare students for new economies and areas of commerce.
  • Mathematics, engineering and science related educational majors will become an ubiqitous feature of the new job market.
Keep reading Show less

Beyond Meat announces plan to sell ‘ground beef’ in stores. Shares skyrocket.

Beyond Beef sizzles and marbleizes just like real beef, Beyond Meat says.

Culture & Religion
  • Shares of Beyond Meat opened at around $200 on Tuesday morning, falling to nearly $170 by the afternoon.
  • Wall Street analysts remain wary of the stock, which has been on a massive hot streak since its IPO in May.
  • Beyond Meat faces competition from Impossible Foods and, as of this week, Tyson.
Keep reading Show less