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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Help the fight against cancer

Help the fight against cancer

Cancer Research UK

I have previously written about Community Grid, the gigantic network of computers that crunches numbers day and night to help fight cancer. What makes the grid so powerful is the fact that anyone can add their home / office computer to the grid. When the computer is idle, the computer will request work from the grid servers and help with the data processing. 

Every day the grid process so much data that one computer on its own would have taken many thousands of years to process.

Following in the footsteps of the Community Grid, charity organization Cancer Research UK has also turned to the internet for help.

Clinical trials for breast cancer research have produced tons of valuable data. Only problem is, there are simply too much data for the scientist to analyze!

At this point you might wonder – “I don’t even have a white lab coat! How can I possibly help?!

It is not very complicated and anybody can help the scientists analyze their data! The data consists of millions of images of tumors. Each image may or may not contain cancer cells. If the image does, all you have to do is guess plus or minus the number of cells that have been stained yellow and then give an estimate on their brightness. You don’t have to be spot on; ball park figure is all they are looking for.

Cancer Sample
They yellow that you see is the level of the oestrogen receptor protein present in the cell. This will give scientist an idea of how well a certain patient responded to their cancer treatment. This in turn will help doctors to give personalized treatments to patients.

With nearly a million images analyzed, the project is a big success but there is still terabytes worth of data to be analyzed. So jump in and go and analyze some images to help make the world a better place!

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