Project Details


Help solve cancer while you sleep

By Vodafone Australia

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @VodafoneAU

  • Health
  • Internet
  • Mobile

While much progress has been made in the detection and treatment of cancer, the disease remains a challenge in the medical community. According to the Cancer Council of Australia, 33% of women and 50% of men can develop cancer before their 85th birthday. 

Dr Samantha Oakes was only six years old when her brother was suspected of having bone cancer. Today, she is a breast cancer researcher at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, working hard to understand cancer cell structure. “The worst thing for those touched by cancer is fear: the fear of the unknown and of what’s to come,” she says.

Much is still unknown about the disease. One crucial stumbling block for Dr Oakes and her team is the lack of computing power to analyse the vast amounts of data that will help us understand cancer. The Institute currently produces between one and two petabytes of data a year, and access to supercomputers is costly and limited. 

Enter the team at Vodafone Australia, who developed an app called DreamLab to harness the power of an ordinary smartphone to help Garvan process their research data. A free app, DreamLab enables a fully charged smartphone to automatically download genetic sequencing provided by the Garvan Institute. The information is processed using the smartphone’s CPU and sent back to be used in cancer research. 

With just 1,000 users, DreamLab will process data 30 times faster, and with five million users, this would increase to 150,000 times faster than Garvan’s current computer network. Vodafone users in Australia will not be charged for any data used, and for those outside of Australia, a cap feature limits data usage. Download the app now to help medical researchers solve cancer faster:

Image courtesy of Giulia Mule

Last updated: 13th of September, 2016

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