Get in the Game to Help Treat Cancer

By Sara Bondell - September 12, 2018

We all know it can be hard to peel your kids away from video games, but what if there’s one that could help cure cancer?

Moffitt has developed the first-ever video game that could uncover new ways to treat the disease.

The game, called Cancer Crusade, gives you the opportunity to play doctor and come up with the best strategies to treat a growing tumor. It’s not just for fun—playing the game will also help researchers.

“The big benefit is that if you’re playing the game, you’re giving us useful information on which treatment strategies work,” said Dr. Sandy Anderson, chair of Moffitt’s Integrated Mathematical Oncology Department.

Cancer Crusade
Cancer Crusade was developed by Moffitt's Integrated Mathematical Oncology Department.
Cancer Crusade
Cancer Crusade is free and available to download on Apple and Android devices.

Treating a cancer tumor with the maximum tolerated dose of chemotherapy can lead to resistance. But researchers believe combining different treatment types given at different intervals can help suppress that resistance.

Every time you play Cancer Crusade you give researchers another possible treatment combination, accomplishing what would take them years of trial and error.

Dr. Sandy Anderson, chair of the Integrated Mathematical Oncology Department

“That feedback, that human crowdsourced interactive piece is something that we really wanted to exploit,” said Anderson. “By playing the game you are facilitating a greater puzzle solving of best treatment strategy.”It’s not your average video game, but one that you may want your kids to play.

“Obviously it might not mean their homework gets done as much as it should,” joked Anderson. “But they are actually contributing to a scientific cause and potentially impacting the way we treat cancer.”

When enough people have played Cancer Crusade, researchers can analyze the data and start testing if the gamers’ strategies work. The ultimate goal is being able to use those strategies to one day treat cancer.

Cancer Crusade is free and available to download on Apple and Android devices.

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