DreamLab – The Vodafone App Cures Cancer While You Sleep

How Dream Lab - The Vodafone App Cures Cancer While You Sleep
How Dream Lab – The Vodafone App Cures Cancer While You Sleep

Trials and efforts to cure cancer have been ongoing for centuries. And one thing those efforts have in common is they almost always use the latest technologies; (or develop new technologies) to do so. A new initiative in Aotearoa is no exception. This is how Vodafone DreamLab app came into existance.

Vodafone App DreamLab: The app to help cure cancer

Vodafone and the Vodafone Foundation have collaborated to launch an app. Which harnesses the processing power of smartphones to speed up cancer research. And all while people sleep or otherwise aren’t using their phones. Research has begun to understand cancer-based on a patient’s DNA profile. But hampering the speed of that genetic profiling is the lack of access to computer processing power.

Vodafone DreamLab: The app to help cure cancer
Vodafone DreamLab: The app to help cure cancer

The stats are unquestionably sad: about one in three New Zealanders will be affected by cancer in their lifetime. That’s more than 1.5 million people.

Data Crunch

That’s where the Vodafone DreamLab app comes in. Essentially, the app turns mobile phones into a virtual supercomputer network to crunch complex genetic data, hopefully speeding up the search for a cure. And, it’s done while users sleep since the app runs in the background of a phone’s other applications.

While the Vodafone DreamLab app can be used by everyone in Australia with a smartphone, it will not use the data Vodafone mobile customers might have on their data plan. The app also works on WiFi.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd has launched a wonderful app that cures cancer while you are asleep. As cancer is the disease that affects so many people each year here an app called the Dream Lab collects and compares genetic profiles of tumours.

This free app uses the processing power of your idle phone to solve a piece of the cancer research puzzle. If just 1,000 people used the app, cancer puzzles would be solved 30 times faster. As otherwise researchers are hindered by limited access to supercomputers.

Operating only when a phone is fully charged and charging, it analyses data for breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers. The app then sends the information back to the Garvan Institute, one of Australia’s foremost genome mapping organisations.

Story of App Creation

According to Professor David Thomas, Director of The Kinghorn Cancer Centre and Head of the Garvan Centre’s Research Division, the impact of the app on their research has been highly significant.

Dream Lab App
Choose a project that you would like to support and once your phone is charged, it will solve tiny research problems.

There are finite supercomputing resources available at Garvan. The processing power from DreamLab has already alleviated a bottleneck of research and sped up the process of genetic information analyses.  According to the professor, if the app reaches 100,000 users, this project could be completed three years. Faster than originally anticipated, which in turn will deliver tangible benefits to patients sooner. With one in two Australians affected by cancer by the age of 85, such research breakthroughs are urgently needed.

This remarkable collaboration combined Vodafone’s network power and technical know-how with the Garvan Institute’s research and algorithms. It is for not only fast-track cancer research but open the minds of Australians as to how they can show support for medical research by doing what they do every day by just charging their phones.

For Vodafone Australia customers, the data to use DreamLab is free on the Vodafone network. But if you’re also contributing over WiFi, you’ll be charged as per your WiFi plan. When roaming that will incur international rates so you should take note of this.

If you’re not with Vodafone Australia, you’ll use data from your mobile or WiFi plan. But don’t worry it’s small and you can choose your monthly limit.

How Does this App Works

 Dream Lab - The Vodafone App
Dream Lab – The Vodafone App

The DreamLab app requires around 500MB of data when switched on for six hours every night if it’s not connected to a wi-fi network – but Vodafone said customers who use the app won’t be billed for the data or see it taken out of their allowance. The app isn’t just restricted to Vodafone customers. Any smartphone owner can download the app, although if they’re not a Vodafone customer they will have to pay for the cost of any data it uses.

Dr Kirill Veselkov, who is heading the team at Imperial College’s Department of Surgery & Cancer in this project, said: “This is a ground-breaking moment for us. The next step is to use AI technologies to explore the impact that different combinations of drugs and food-based molecules could have on individuals. We have built a team of molecular gastronomists, computer scientists, biochemical/microbiota scientists, sensory scientists, Michelin-star chefs, health economists and clinicians to advance the next phase of the project”.

You can download this DreamLab app from the Apple App store or the Google Play Store for free.

Download the DreamLab app from Google Play for free. Then simply charge your phone and wake up knowing you’ve helped find new ways to treat cancer.

About the author

Kamal Kaur