Click to Cure

Are you sick of wearing buttons, ribbons, and wristbands, given that it’s unclear how “raising awareness” does a damn thing to cure cancer? Are you sick of email forwards, twitter campaigns, and those shameless Facebook likes?

Well, you’re in luck. There’s a way you can contribute to fighting cancer that requires no money from you, as much time as you’d like to spend, and affects the science of cancer in a real, concrete way.

We’re talking about ClicktoCure, a venture from the UK crowdsources a part of cancer research. The project is looking at how different cancerous cells respond to different treatments, and that requires millions of images to be analysed. Currently, no program or computer algorithm can compete with thousands of humans clicking away.

The work is fairly easy and almost like a game. You’re given a brief but informative tutorial, and then to start scanning slides for irregular cells. Each slide is viewed at least five times to weed out any mistakes. A portion of the slides have already been gone over by pathologists; comparing results will also help reduce errors. Realistically, a half-hour doing something like this is probably a more meaningful contribution to curing cancer than buying a pink ribbon with your movie ticket.

This is a test