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New game supports life-saving cancer research

A new game designed to get more patients taking part in life-saving research has been launched.

man wearing a white shirt holding a white Android smartphone

King's Health Partners Cancer Biobank at Guy’s and St Thomas’, in partnership with Focus Games, have developed the app to help patients understand what biobanking is and why their consent is so important.

Biobanks store blood and tissue samples for use in medical research and play a critical role in helping scientists understand diseases and find new treatments. However, they cannot collect and save samples without the explicit consent of patients.

Launched at the UK Biobanking Showcase in Nottingham, The Biobanking Game is a unique app that delivers vital information to patients that explains the consent process. It can be offered to patients on tablet devices in a clinic or they can download it from an app store free of charge to play at home.

Dr Cheryl Gillett, Head of Biobanking at King’s and Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “We know that many patients struggle with the amount of information they receive when facing a cancer diagnosis. This often means that information explaining the biobank and patient consent can be overlooked"

That’s why we’ve worked with Focus Games on a new approach to avoid us missing people who want to sign up and help support life-saving research. Patients and visitors were involved in developing the app from the outset and they pulled no punches telling us what they liked, didn’t like and what they wanted.– Dr Cheryl Gillett

The game was created with funding from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. It takes the patient through the consent process step by step and allows them to return to it multiple times to check understanding.

‘Sammy the Sample’ is your guide and question-master as he takes you on a journey from the hospital clinic to biobank to research lab. Along the way, he shows you the impact that research using donated samples has made on patient care today and tests your knowledge.

Whilst some scenes are specific to Guy’s and St Thomas’, such as the eye-catching Guy’s Cancer Centre, the journey Sammy takes is typical of many biobanks and research studies.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Focus Games Ltd are commercialising the app by creating customised versions for other biobanks and clinical trial projects around the world. 

The Biobanking Game can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play free of charge.

For more details visit www.biobankinggame.com