Cancer Research UK Launches “Play To Cure” Game: Genes In Space

Cancer Research UK have today launched “the world’s first free mobile game that uses the collective force of players to analyse real genetic data and help beat cancer sooner.”

The new app, titled Play To Cure: Genes In Space, is a completely free game which, as the name suggests, lets you Play, whilst helping to find a Cure for cancers.

“We urge people to give two minutes of their time wherever and whenever they can – whether they’re on their daily commute or in the hairdressers having a blow dry. Together, our free moments will help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”

The game came about after the UK charity held a Game Jam way back in March 2013 – with bods from Facebook, Google, Amazon and numerous scientific and educational academies across the country joining programmers and developers with one succinct aim – to transform Cancer Research UK’s genetic data into a playable and engaging experience that would allow for crowd-sourced, accurate and robust scientific analysis on a grand scale.

The idea of Genes In Space is simple – players guide their spaceship through galaxies littered with asteroids and collect a substance dubbed Element Alpha; The clever bit, however, is that prior to each stage you’re asked to map your passageway, plotting the density on a graphic representative of the upcoming level – this graphic being a sample of actual genetic data.

Together we can help analyse data which ordinarily would take scientists years to wade through. Impressive, indeed.

Oh, and as if helping to cure cancer wasn’t reason enough, celebrity funnyman Dara O’Briain will retweet your high-scores. So, there’s bragging rights too. Yay.

Genes in Space was developed by Dundee agency Guerilla Tea alongside Cancer Research UK’s scientists, and is available now on the Apple Appstore and Google Play storefronts – and trust me, it’s a much more satisfying experience than trying to break double-digits on Flappy Bird.

Source: Cancer Research UK, YouTube, VG247, Twitter.


  1. Great idea, the games looks fun too.

  2. so it’s like the Folding At Home thing on the PS3 but with a game to play while it’s running?

    sounds cool to me.

    • To the same goal, yes, but it’s not just using your phone’s computing power in the way PS’s Folding did – Genes In Space utilises your own brainpower – and eyes – to point out the density on each genetic array.

      Give it a go.

  3. I’ll jut be playing this then.

    Some AAA games with this kind of background function would be awesome.

  4. I’ll give it a go and I’m sure my son will enjoy playing it on my phone.

  5. Reminds me a bit of the folding@home on PS3 and sounds like a neat way to get people involved. I don’t bother with iOs stuff usually but i’ll give this a go.

  6. Well it’s not awful, I’m more happy to play this thinking in contributing than any other garbage mobile game.
    I don’t really get how it helps cure cancer though.

  7. Brilliant idea, but is essentially unplayable on my Samsung tab, and judging the reviews, I’m not alone.

  8. Thanks for this write-up, downloaded the game and made it to level 14 already. Great idea, I see they got Dana O Briain’s attention, I hope people pick it up.

  9. *Dara, jeez.

  10. Sufferrinf from it Good

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