By Helen Lamprell, General Counsel & External Affairs Director, Vodafone UK
Smartphones aren’t just for keeping in touch, gaming and video streaming. They are also powering important cancer research through the DreamLab app from the Vodafone Foundation. Every night, thousands of people plug in their phones to charge and power the app. Working together, the processing power of these phones crunches scientific data in a fraction of the time that it would take a standard desktop PC. And in the last 12 months, this has led to two important discoveries in the fight against cancer.
First, Imperial College researchers using DreamLab have identified 110 molecules in foods that have cancer-beating properties. These molecules are found in everyday foods from carrots, celery and cabbage through to oranges, dill and coriander. Researchers from Imperial College London are now conducting further research into how these molecules – and the foods in which they’re found – can be used in the prevention and treatment of various cancers.
Second, DreamLab has discovered that two existing drugs designed for treating other conditions also have anti-cancer potential. Researchers are investigating how anti-diabetic drug Metformin and anti-microbial drug Rosoxacin could also be used to treat cancer. Even though further research needs to be done to test their effectiveness, this is still a significant development as reusing existing drugs would be far cheaper and quicker than developing new ones from scratch.
These two DreamLab discoveries show how technology can be a force for good. A seemingly insurmountable problem can be tackled, one-step at a time, if we band together and use every tool at our disposal. And this is only the beginning of what DreamLab can achieve, so let’s all Charge, Sleep, Fight Cancer and #SleepLikeAHero.
The Imperial College research paper ‘HyperFoods: Machine intelligent mapping of cancer-beating molecules in foods’ can be read at www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-45349-y.