Project Details

A screen shot of the minions from Reverse the Odds

Reverse the Odds

Allowing casual gamers to advance cancer research as they play

By Cancer Research UK

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @CR_UK

Organisation URL:

  • Community Engagement
  • Health
  • Data
  • Mobile
  • Social Software

Last year’s NT100 featured Cancer Research UK’s interactive website, Cell Slider. This incredible site harnesses the power of the crowd to classify cancer cell images, helping scientists accelerate research to beat cancer sooner. By utilising citizen scientists – everyday people who don’t necessarily have a scientific background – Cell Slider was able to classify over 1,000,000 cancer cell images in three months.

Reverse The Odds – Cancer Research UK’s latest game and this year’s NT100 entrant – achieved that in just two weeks.

The free mobile game combines fantastic game design, data analysis expertise and remarkable production to allow citizen scientists to fight cancer. In Reverse The Odds, players are challenged to save a race of adorable creatures called Odds by rebuilding their magical world. Whilst the in-game mini-puzzles are enough to engage thousands of players, what makes Reverse The Odds really special is that each player can analyse real cancer data on every level. And their findings are fed back to researchers, helping them to find new and kinder treatments for different cancers.

Reverse The Odds, Cancer Research UK’s third citizen science project following Cell Slider and Genes in Space demonstrates what can be achieved when creative approaches are utilised to address big social challenges. Reverse The Odds has already analysed over 2million cancer cell images, but there are over 31million that need to be looked at – and they can only be analysed by humans as computers can’t identify the patterns required. The uniqueness of Reverse The Odds is that the game is so engaging that it can be attractive to an audience who already play mobile games – transforming just-for-fun gaming habits into cancer-beating actions.  

Working with Channel 4, Maverick TV’s Multiplatform team and Chunk, Cancer Research UK’s Reverse The Odds hints at how other social issues might be addressed by harnessing the power of the crowd, great design and networked technologies. Whilst hinting at that future, it is also classifying millions of cancer cells right now.

Image courtesy of Cancer Research UK

Last updated: 10th of November, 2014

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