Cancer Research announces Cell Slider site
A site called Cell Slider has been announced by Cancer Research UK, with the online location actually letting people help-out with the very activity that the charity's name implies: research into cancer, an illness no health insurance holder could fail to be aware of.
"We’re really excited to be involved in this world-first project and we’re extremely eager to see what this can do for our research in the future," commented one of the people who aided with the site's creation, the University of Cambridge's Professor Paul Pharoah.
The site takes data related to cancer and renders it in a way that ordinary people will be able to analyse.
Tumour pictures can be viewed on the platform, after visitors are shown how to make use of them through a tutorial feature.
Then it's a case of playing snap with the images, matching certain yellow-stained cancer cells to others than are similar.
Often, when researchers look at them, cancer cells are stained so as to highlight particular molecules.
"There is information that can transform cancer treatments buried in our data – we just need the manpower to unlock them," explained Professor Pharoah.
"We’ve turned our data into something that can be accessed by anyone – you don’t have to be a scientist to carry out this type of cancer research."
He suggested that, should enough people use the site, it might be possible to speed up research that usually requires several years to complete so that it takes just months.
He added that, in time, it is hoped that the system will be able to pick up on various sorts of cancer, such as breast cancer, and discover how particular treatments affect them.
"This will enable us to match up women with the right cancer drugs based on their tumour type," he said.
"We hoped that this personalised medicine approach would be a reality in years to come, but this computer programme could make this a reality sooner than any of us had imagined possible."
All the samples presently being used on the site are breast cancer cells, wherein the yellow-tinted parts show particular proteins known as ER, the levels of which affect breast cancer sufferers' treatment options.
Cell Slider lists the number of pictures that people have analysed on the site, a figure which currently stands at 5,807.