Melbourne: A new smartphone app that allows users to help find a cure for cancer while they are asleep, by pooling their device’s computing power, was launched today in Australia. Taking the fight against cancer from the laboratory to the humble smartphone, ‘DreamLab’, an Android smartphone app gives people the power to help fast track a cure for cancer while they sleep at night, researchers said.
DreamLab works by pooling the processing power of mobile devices to create a smartphone supercomputer for cancer research. This in turn will help speed up research into some of Australia’s biggest killers including breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer, researchers said.
While a smartphone is plugged in and fully charged, the DreamLab app automatically downloads and solves a small cancer research problem, and then sends the result back to researchers via the Amazon cloud – like a giant crossword puzzle, with each user solving a different clue.
DreamLab, developed by Vodafone Foundation and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, not only provides free access to a crucial computing resource, it also has the potential to greatly speed up cancer research, the institute said. With 100,000 users, researchers will be able to crunch data approximately 3,000 times faster than the current rate. With five million users, that increases to 150 thousand times faster than the current rate, researchers said.
With more smartphones than there are people in Australia, cancer researchers at the Garvan Institute have dubbed DreamLab a “game changer” for its potential to speed-up their processing of research data.
“With the help of game-changing innovations like DreamLab, I am hopeful that we will see cures of certain types of cancer in our lifetime,” said Dr Samantha Oakes, who leads the breast cancer unit at the Garvan Institute.