This time we’re going mobile
Tonight, leading technology experts, hackers and scientists will gather in London to get ready for a weekend with a difference – Cancer Research UK’s GameJam event. Over the next 48 hours, forty ‘hackers’ will be embedding raw anonymised gene data into a new computer game, with a working title of GeneRun.
When members of the public (aka ‘citizen scientists’) play this game, they’ll be analysing this data, and speeding up our research in the process.
The event follows the success of Cell Slider™ – an interactive website developed following a hackathon event in May 2012, which allows the public to become amateur pathologists and help speed up the analysis of our archive tumour samples.
This time, we’re going mobile – so we’re teaming up with technology titans such as Amazon Web Services, Facebook and Google to turn our gene data into an app or game that citizens can enjoy playing while on the move.
But what exactly is this data, and why do we need the power of the public to analyse it?
The discovery of dendritic cells has led to a Nobel Prize
It’s October, which means it’s time for the Nobel Prizes – the research equivalent of the Oscars, when the good and the great of scientific endeavour are honoured by the Nobel Foundation.
Two Cancer Research UK-funded scientists – Sir Paul Nurse and Sir Tim Hunt – are among the glittering list of past Nobel laureates, and we’re proud that our support has contributed to the work of several others.
From understanding how viruses can convert normal cells into cancer cells, to landmark discoveries about how cells multiply, their prize-winning work lives on in the progress we’re making against cancer today.
This year, the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been jointly awarded to three immunologists – Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann and Ralph Steinman. Their discoveries of the key players in our immune system have given us insights that are literally game-changing for the treatment of cancer and other diseases.
We’ve blogged recently about harnessing our immune system to treat cancer. Without these fundamental discoveries by Beutler, Hoffman and Steinman, research like this simply wouldn’t be possible.
Could microRNAs be the key to detecting pancreatic cancer?
We’ve blogged here before about how difficult it is to detect and treat pancreatic cancer, and that one of the main challenges is that the disease is often diagnosed at a late stage. So it was encouraging to hear from Dr Jörg Hoheisel about his search for biomarkers that could potentially be used to detect pancreatic cancer earlier
Hoheisel, who spent five years at Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute, is now Head of the Division of Functional Genomics at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg. He’s been working on understanding pancreatic cancer for 20 years. And thanks to new technology and collaborations with hospitals across Europe giving him access to crucial samples, he’s now able to drill down in much more detail.