Play to Cure: Genes In Space

How about playing a game for a noble cause? Cancer Research UK released a game that will help scientists unravel gene data to find the answers to some of cancer’s toughest questions. Have fun flying your spaceship, collect the precious material called “Element Alpha” and decode useful amount of data in Play to Cure: Genes In Space.


How does it work?

Players must guide a fast-paced spaceship safely along a hazard-strewn intergalactic assault course to collect precious material called ‘Element Alpha’. Each time the player steers the spaceship to follow the Element Alpha path, this information is fed back to Cancer Research UK scientists – cleverly providing analysis of variations in gene data. Scientists need this information to work out which genes are faulty in cancer patients – so they can develop new drugs that target them, speeding our progress towards personalized medicine. Each section of gene data will be tracked by several different players to ensure accuracy.

Hannah Keartland, citizen science lead for Cancer Research UK, said: “Our world-first Smartphone game is simply out of this world. Not only is it great fun to play – but every single second gamers spend directly helps our work to bring forward the day all cancers are cured. Our scientists’ research produces colossal amounts of data, some of which can only be analysed by the human eye – a process which can take years.

“We hope thousands of people worldwide will play Play to Cure: Genes in Space as often as possible, to help our researchers get through this data. We urge people to give five minutes of their time wherever and whenever they can – whether they’re waiting for their bus to arrive or they’re in the hairdressers having a blow dry. Together, our free moments will help us beat cancer sooner.”

Play to Cure: Genes in Space – How it was developed

The game was released for free on both Android and iOS and can be downloaded right away. The game can be played offline as well, but will upload and download level data whenever 3G or WiFi connection is available (about 250kb). If you feel like helping even more, you can visit the Cell Slider TM website, project that was started last October by Cancer Research UK and Citizen Science Alliance, where you can help analyze cancer data presented as pictures (slides). To find out more about Play to Cure: Genes In Space, visit Cancer Research UK website located at




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