DreamLab – one year after its UK launch, exciting results
May 1, 2019
By Helen Lamprell, General Counsel & External Affairs Director, Vodafone UK
A year ago, the Vodafone Foundation and Imperial College London launched the DreamLab app in the UK. DreamLab harnesses the computing power of smartphones while they are charging to analyse data. The project that we are looking at, christened Project DRUGS (Drug Repurposing Using Grids of Smartphones) by the research team led by Dr Kirill Veselkov from Imperial’s Department of Surgery & Cancer, aims to speed up the discovery of cancer drugs.
Thanks to tens of thousands of DreamLab users, the Imperial team has completed nearly 7 million calculations to date, resulting in some promising discoveries. Here’s what they have achieved so far with the help of DreamLab.
Discovering new anti-cancer uses for existing drugs
The Imperial team analysed several thousand existing drugs to find those that could also fight cancer. Applying machine learning technology, the DreamLab app carried out simulations to examine how different combinations of drugs would interact in the body.
The great news is that this work has identified several existing drugs that could be repurposed to help treat cancer. These include Metformin, an existing drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes, and Rosoxacin, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. Because these drugs are already in use their speed to market is fast and their cost lower than new drugs.
Identifying cancer-beating molecules in foods
The Imperial team also looked at data on almost 10,000 molecules found in everyday foods to identify those with potential anti-cancer benefits. They discovered more than 100 such molecules from a variety of foods. These include vegetables such as carrots, celery, cabbage and broccoli, as well as fruits like oranges, pomegranates, grapes and guava.
Help us to speed up cancer research by downloading DreamLab
These are very exciting discoveries and I’m pleased that we’ve had 81,000 downloads of the DreamLab app so far. With your help, we can achieve even more. In the next phase of Project DRUGS, researchers will be searching for the best drug combinations for different cancer types to create more optimised therapies.
For more information about DreamLab, and to find out how to download the app on Android or iOS, visit: https://www.vodafone.co.uk/dreamlab/.
So please download DreamLab now and power it every time you charge your phone, because that way the data will get crunched faster.