It’s the statistic none of us like to think about, but unfortunately we can’t avoid: one in two Australians will be affected by cancer in their lifetime.
Imagine if there was some small way to help… all while you slept.
Sound like something from a sci-fi movie?
Well, it’s not.
Find out more about the DreamLab app. Post continues below.
“Medical research is the key to solving cancer but one thing slowing progress is the limited access researchers have to supercomputers to crunch their complex data,” Rebecca Murray, Vodafone Foundation Board Member, tells Mamamia.
“With smartphones outnumbering the number of people in our country, Vodafone Foundation saw a great opportunity to create Australia’s first smartphone supercomputer,” says Murray.
But... how can my smartphone help?
“Think of your smartphone as a small but powerful computer,” Murray explains.
“When it’s idle — like when you’re asleep at night — that power goes untapped.
“DreamLab puts that power to use for good to fast-track cancer research.''
“Each phone downloads tiny research problems and calculates them, and then sends the results back to the research team at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research,” explains Murray.
But how does this help fight cancer?
The Garvan Institute has a huge research project, called Project Demystify, in the cloud. This project has over 26 million different micro-problems that need crunching in order to understand and make sense of the data.
Dr Warren Kaplan, Head of the Data Sciences Platform at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and lead of the Project Demystify team tells Mamamia, “We’re generating more data than ever before, which needs ever-increasing computing resources and novel approaches to answer the many questions we’d like to ask of our data."
“DreamLab gives us free access to a dedicated virtual supercomputer to accelerate our cancer research, giving hope to patients and their families, and even enabling them to contribute directly to our work by installing DreamLab on their phones.”
Project Demystify seeks to understand cancer based on a patient’s DNA profile, rather than the tissue in which their cancer originated.
So, one of the problems that your phone could help solve is comparing a tiny part of genetic information from a breast cancer patient to that of a pancreatic cancer patient.