Play Genes in Space and help cure cancer

The Rational Group and PokerStarsHelping Hands’ corporate giving programme is proud to support a world first; a mobile game that helps scientists find new cures for cancer sooner: Play to Cure™: Genes in Space.

Have you ever wanted to make a difference in a unique way? Not by donating money or climbing a mountain, but by playing a game, a mobile phone game, where every time you play it, you are helping to analyse genetic data? Sounds amazing and it is. Read on to find out what it is all about, why we are involved, and what we would like you to do.


Back in March of 2013, The Rational Group was invited by Cancer Research UK to send two of our programmers to work alongside teams from Facebook, Google and Amazon Web services at the GameJam event in London. The aim was to allow coders and programmers to joined forces with scientists to come up with ideas for a mobile phone game that could analyse complex genetic data in a fun and engaging way; a game that anyone would be able to play, anywhere in the world. Click here to watch a video from GameJam.

The Game

Following GameJam, we were given the opportunity to fund the development of the game, and we are delighted to announce that the game, entitled ‘Play to Cure™: Genes in Space’, launched on February 4, 2014 -  World Cancer Day.

Genes in Space is Cancer Research UK’s pioneering mobile phone game, set to help scientists analyse astronomical amounts of data and find crucial genetic clues about cancer much faster. It is available to download now in the App Store and in Google Play (Android). See here for a video preview of the game.

How can you help?

Download the game and play - it’s as simple as that! It’s free to download and available now in the Apple App store and for Android via Google Play. The more people that play the game, the more data gets analysed and the closer scientists get to finding cures for cancer’s toughest questions. So please get playing when you have a spare moment and help us support this world-first.

The science bit

Genes in Space is trying to help scientists analyse data generated by a technology called gene microarrays. Researchers use gene microarrays to look for regions of our genome that are frequently faulty in different cancers - a sign that they may be responsible for causing the cancer. If scientists can find genes that promote cancer development, they can design drugs to stop them.

Gene microarrays are useful for analysing large genetic faults known as copy number alterations - when a whole section of the chromosome is gained or lost. As these large sections of chromosomes may involve many different genes, scientists need a way to work out which are the ones driving cancer, and which are just ‘passenger’ genes along for the ride.

Microarrays let scientists analyse DNA from many thousands of tumour samples simultaneously, to find the most frequent changes that are more likely to be the culprits. Many scientists are trying to use computer software to trawl through the huge amounts of data generated to spot the precise location of copy number changes, but in many cases these are not accurate enough. The human eye is still the best technology we have for picking up these patterns, and Play to CureTM: Genes in Space is harnessing this power.

To find out more, visit

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