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Public urged to help cancer researchers by playing online game

People will be asked to trace the outlines of tongue images to train a computer algorithm to recognise oral cancer.

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People asked to trace the outlines of tongue images to train a computer algorithm to recognise oral cancer (King’s College London/PA)

People asked to trace the outlines of tongue images to train a computer algorithm to recognise oral cancer (King’s College London/PA)

People asked to trace the outlines of tongue images to train a computer algorithm to recognise oral cancer (King’s College London/PA)

Scientists have turned to the public to help with their latest cancer research in the form of an online citizen science game.

AcCELLerate tasks users with tracing the outline of a series of fluorescent dye-stained tongue images which become increasingly complex, using their computer mouse or finger on a smartphone.

The project is designed to train a computer algorithm to recognise oral cancers in medical images, improving its ability to differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells.

“I’m really excited that the public will be contributing to my work on oral cancer,” said Dr Priyanka Bhosale, from King’s College London’s Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine.

“The outcomes of the public training the AI will help me assess tumour tissue samples in a faster and more reliable way.”

Over time, it is hoped the tool can be used to advance research into other cancers.

The game forms part of the Royal Society Summer Science 2021 event and can be found at citizen.cellari.io/.

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