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Open Labs brief

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A weekend of awesome creative collaboration at The Science Museum 18-20 May 2012

A weekend of awesome creative collaboration at The Science Museum 18-20 May 2012

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  • 1.       Collaborating to Beat CancerOpen Labs - Come and help Cancer Research UK to beat cancerImagine a world where 100,000s of people playing a simple game-based app on theirsmartphones or social networks or computers were at the same time analysing data andhelping to beat cancer. Think Citizens Science meets Angry Birds.Together with Cancer Research UK and the Citizens Science Alliance, we’redelighted to be embarking on an ambitious collaborative Good forNothing experiment – Open Labs – taking place at The Science Museum over theweekend of 18, 19, 20 May.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Our challenge is to develop a simple, but addictive app with game elements thatwould enable hundreds of thousands of supporters in the UK to help beat cancer...-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------We want to create something that when playing, will analyse real data, from realcancer patients, leading to real results and real breakthroughs in the development ofpersonalised medicine. By analysing data faster, we can get knowledge to doctorsfaster, and they in turn can treat people more successfully. Put simply, playing thisgame really could save lives.So what’s happened so far?To kick things off, Cancer Research UK put out a call to their community of 4000+research scientists for ideas with the potential to unlock genuine research bottlenecksand tackle meaningful research challenges2 different ideas have emerged as 2 of the briefs for our challenge. Chris Lintott andhis team from Citizen Science Alliance are opening up their APIs to help focus arapid 48 hour blast of collaborative developing, making and doing.The 3rd challenge is how to communicate the idea of citizen science for cancerresearch to the great British public.As well as a team of some of the UK and world’s leading cancer research scientists,Chris will be with us for the weekend, to help bring the massive expertise andinsight they’ve gained from the groundbreaking Galaxy Zoo, Planet Hunters andrapidly expanding family of Zooniverse projects.Why citizen science and cancer research?Personalised treatment is poised to revolutionise cancer treatment.Every person’s cancer is unique – and their cancer treatment should be too.Tests that reveal the genetic make-up of a patient’s cancer can help doctors to tailorthe treatment accordingly.
  • 2.      That means patients will get the RIGHT treatment, first time, with fewer intolerableside effects which could have a major impact on survival ratesTo develop these tests – and the personalised medicine – we need to decode geneticinformation. And stunning advances in technology mean we can do this faster thanever.But it still requires analysis of huge amounts of genetic data by real people thatcannot be left to computers alone. Analysis that researchers at top universities aredoing every day; looking for patterns, exceptions and abnormalities. This job needshuman intuition and the human eye. And that’s why it takes so much time.But with the collective power of hundreds of thousands of people, and their eyes, wecould speed up this research by years, and save lives.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Brief #1: Accelerating pathologists analysis of tumours-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The outline ideaEach year, thousands of patients take part in clinical trials, providing precioustumour samples - each one offering vital clues as to why a patient’s treatment did ordidn’t work.A game that ‘scores’ tumour samples on a grid like the one shown would acceleratethis analysis to benefit patients faster.Each dot above is a tiny tumour sample stained for a specific marker. People wouldbe asked to score the samples depending on what markers they can see.A typical trial could generate up to 18,000 of these dots to analyse for up to 20different markers - a task that will take years without additional help.By playing the game, you’ll build up a bank of knowledge to help doctorspersonalise treatment and transform the outlook for women with breast cancer
  • 3.      The key issuesThere is a genuine backlog of research that upon proper analysis could yield all sortsof insights and breakthroughs. This would accelerate research and free up scientiststo tackle other less routine issuesThere are a number of different ways in which people could analyse tumoursranging from assessing the colour intensity, to sizing the proportion of tumourstained to looking for irregularities. In each case, a basic introductory level oftraining is needed which would become part of the game/application.The challengeThe overall challenge is to build a set of prototypes for the app and training module -using technology, gaming, design, social web and communications expertise to seewhat awesome ideas emerge….What we’re looking for… • A game or application with a user interface that has the potential to get hundreds of thousands of people engaged and actively helping to get through the research backlog • Has broad appeal across a wide range of people – from school kids to grandparents, not just hardcore gamers • Works across platforms (online, mobile) • Has a mechanism in it that encourages and rewards involvement/sharing • Has a competitive element that makes the whole experience immersive • Packaged in a way that makes it easy, fun and engaging • Supported by insights into users, scientists and cancer patientsPotential data-setsWe have samples from 3000 women on a landmark breast cancer trial. The trial istesting the best way to treat women in their 20s and 30s with the disease. This will bedemonstrated as part of the briefings.Each data set consists of high resolution images that sit on a server to be pulledforward for analysis. The data exists within an online SQL database as well as asample set of data that we’ve put into Dropbox for people to use alongside the CSIplatform API.Lead scientistsAndy Hanby, Diana Wheeler and Paul Pharoah-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Brief #2: Accelerating genetic analysis of tumours-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The outline ideaEvery person’s cancer is made up of a unique combination of genetic faults - agenetic ‘signature’. New technology means we can analyse these genetic signaturesfrom thousands of patients faster than ever - churning out petabytes of data.
  • 4.      Results like those below, which show changes in the levels of some genes, wouldbenefit from human analysis in addition to current automated processes.The data above shows changes in the amount of genetic material. Gamers would belooking for regions such as the one in the middle where the level changes sharply.Changes in level across many tumour samples would help to locate importantcancer-causing gene faults. Not all the changes in our genes cause cancer. But bytaking part & spotting the subtleties a computer can’t, you could be the one to find abreakthrough cancer-causing mutation. It’s a game of chance but the stakes are high.The key issuesThe current mechanism for analysing data is through sophisticated algorithms thatpredict the genetic sequence in and around the mutations.The way the algorithms work means that some important parts of the geneticsequence in and around the mutations are less accurately predicted.There is a real need to do more exploratory work on this, as the rate at which data isbeing produced, means that adding a human element to the algorithmic analysiscould yield new and important findings.The challengeThe overall challenge is to build a set of prototypes for the app and training module -using technology, gaming, design, social web and communications expertise to seewhat awesome ideas emerge….What we’re looking for… • A game or application with a user interface that has the potential to get hundreds of thousands of people engaged and actively helping to get through the research backlog • Has broad appeal across a wide range of people – from school kids to grandparents, not just hardcore gamers • Works across platforms (online, mobile) • Has a mechanism in it that encourages and rewards involvement/sharing • Has a competitive element that makes the whole experience immersive
  • 5.       • Packaged in a way that makes it easy, fun and engaging • Supported by insights into users, scientists and cancer patientsPotential data-setsData exists within the public domain that can be used to build a working prototype.We will have a set of data available on Dropbox and it will be demonstrated as partof the briefings.There are no working standards yet for this type of data – most data sets existing inBED format or compatible format for viewing in the Integrative Genomics Viewer –an open source piece of software.Lead scientistAndy Lynch-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Brief #3: How do we engage the wider public in the idea of citizen science for cancerresearch?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The idea of citizen science is unique and a relatively new concept for most peopleso how do we best communicate it to get the highest possible appeal and uptake?This is a free-range challenge that we’d love to have people work on to tackle theissue of communications approach and strategy for this initiative – overall and forthe individual ideas as they start to emerge and develop over the weekend.The primary audience is the great British public, but given the aim to make this go asbig as possible, how can we best talk to potential technology partners and even otherbrands to get them involved in making this happen?Pro-bono public research into citizen science and cancer research just in gives ussome insights to start from and will be available as input for everyone to use.We also know that the citizen science community that Chris has built is scienceattentive but not specialists e.g. amateur astronomers – they’re curious, educated,motivated by taking part in research, doing something and making a contribution.So this brief is really all about immersing ourselves in creating a communicationsstrategy, approach and supporting assets that will help to accelerate this idea intoexecution.Key questionsWho’s the audience(s) for cancer research citizen science?For each key audience, what’s the proposition that will hook them to get involved?What key messages will engage them - both overall and with the specificapplication/platform being developed?How might we best package the idea up visually as a concept/identity?How do we best communicate/ launch it e.g. in terms of a challenge?
  • 6.      Potential outputsA communications strategy and campaign for citizen science for Cancer Research UKSupporting assets e.g. vox-pops from potential audience, mash-up films, mood-film/animation/storyboard, branding ideas and identities, pitch presentations ….etc-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Some stuff to think about for all the challenges….-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Visual  engagement  Pictures  of  galaxies  are  interesting.  Tumour  images/genetic  profiles  maybe  less  so.    How  can  we  present  data  in  an  engaging  way  to  the  user?  How  do  we  best  present  results  back  to  the  users?  How  do  we  best  present  results  back  to  the  community     • Can  we  bring  in  different  colours  and  visual  elements  within  the  data?   • How  might  we  frame/create  context  and  a  learning  experience  around  the  data?   • How  do  we  best  package  and  wrap  the  idea  up  visually  ie  graphic  design,  user   interface,  user  experience  as  part  of  a  bigger  challenge?    Game-­‐like  elements/playability/sociability  Making  it  too  much  like  a  game  reduces  the  quality  of  classifications  –  good  people  leave  as  the  motivations  shift  from  quality  to  quantity.   • Positioned  as  a  game,  is  it  engaging  enough?     • What  game-­‐like  elements  and  mechanics  might  encourage  repeat  use?   • How  can  we  bring  in  social  elements  into  the  experience  so  that  people  can   share  what  they’ve  done  and  encourage  others  to  get  involved  too  e.g.  groups  of   family/friends/colleagues?   • At  what  point  might  users  have  something  meaningful  to  share?    Profile/rewards/motivation  How  do  we  build  in  elements  that  reward  and  keep  people  motivated  whilst  maintaining  quality  of  interaction?    What  kind  of  measures  of  activity  are  meaningful  and  will  keep  engagement  high?  Frequency  of  doing  it,  accuracy  of  response,  depth  of  activity  etc  Can  we  frame/visualise  the  data  being  classified  in  terms  of  a  big  challenge?  How  do  we  visualize  the  reduction  of  the  backlog  of  data?    Learning  by  doing  People  tend  to  stop  because  they  don’t  know  if  they  are  doing  it  properly  -­‐>  “I’m  doing  science,  what  if  I  get  it  wrong,  am  I  the  only  one  going  to  rate  this  data?”  Context  is  critical  –  what  am  I  looking  at  and  what  does  it  mean  What  could  the  initial  sign-­‐up,  information  and  learning  tutorial  look  like?  What  kind  of  things  do  we  need  to  do  to  reassure  people  at  different  stages  and  give  them  feedback?  What  kind  of  interactivity/place  to  talk  about  their  observers  can  we  build  to  connect  users  with  others  looking  at  same  picture?    

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