Open Labs

Collaborating with the public to find new, scientifically valid approaches to accelerate cancer research.

Partnering with Cancer Research UK, Citizen Science Alliance and an expert group of designers, technologists, researchers, game designers and scientists, we hosted a creative collaboration programme that lead to the development of a way for the public to classify cancer research data.

With around 2.5 million classifications to date, the first product to come out of the collaboration, Cell Slider has been proven to be as accurate as pathologists yet far quicker and cheaper. It offers a new way for the public to participate in the fight against cancer as well as freeing up pathologists to focus on other valuable work. It also creates incredibly engaging content that draws in new, hard-to-reach supporters to the cause. A second prototype Gene Runner developed in the same programme recently launched as a game called Genes In Space. It enables gamers to help provide vital information on genetic information simply by playing a space invaders style game and has had several million users in almost every country in the world playing it. A third prototype - an evolution of Cell Slider called Reverse the Odds,  which has more gaming elements in the form of a mobile app has hit over 2 million classifications in just 2 months.

"Cancer Research UK have worked extensively with the team to turn our vision of Click to Cure into reality. Instrumental in the success of the project was the team's Open Labs event at the Science Museum where developers, communicators, cancer scientists and even astronomers came together to create our first working prototypes. Within four months Cell Slider, a world first that allows Citizen Scientists to accelerate our data analysis, was live on the web. The team are great collaborators and innovators - together we are now plotting our next steps in this breakthrough journey!"

Tim Thorne, Head of Innovation, Cancer Research UK

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