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Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK call on gamers to analyse real images of cancer cells in Stand Up To Cancer game


By Gillian West, Social media manager

October 12, 2014 | 3 min read

With Channel 4's Stand Up To Cancer event taking place next week (Friday 17 October) the broadcaster has commissioned a game in which players will analyse images of real cancer cells to help researchers extract vital information.

Devloped by Maverick Television's multi-platform team, Chunk and Cancer Research UK, 'Reverse the Odds' sees players progress through different levels by answering questions such as how bright the cells they see are or counting a particular type of cell.

Colin McDonald, games commissioning editor for Channel 4, said: "It's great to see an increasing number of 'games for good' that support and aid a wide variety of issues, but the opportunity to let individual players make such a direct and positive impact on cancer studies whilst having fun is absolutely incredible - I hope to be seeing more people contributing to cancer research than merely 'killing time' on their commutes home now."

The game sets players on a mission to use their cell evaluation to revitalise tiny creatures called 'The Odds', telling the story of a girl who lives in a world populated by these creatures who become grey and lifeless when she becomes tired. Players must complete each level to restore the world from a washed out wasteland back to an amazing colourful wonderland.

Data taken from the game will be used by Cancer Research UK and fed back to their research teams to understand cancer and discover new ways to beat the disease. The crowd-sourcing application will make sure that individuals need not worry about getting their analysis wrong as crowd-sourcing means the results will come from the results of lots of people looking at each sample.

Cancer Research UK's citizen science lead, Hannah Keartland, added the charity was "thrilled" to have worked with Channel 4 to create a "truly unique game that's not only great fun to play, but also allows gamers to make a direct impact on research to beat cancer sooner".

"With the colossal amounts of data being produced by our scientists' research, getting through the data can take years, especially as some can only be analysed by the human eye. That is why we're always looking at innovative ways to get the public invalid in this critical process," explained Keartland. "Reverse The Odds gives anyone the chance to help our scientists get through this data via their mobile devices. So no matter where you are, your gaming moment could start having a real impact."

Reverse The Odds is available as a free download across iOS, Android, Amazon phones and tablets.

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