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Vodafone releases an app that enlists its customers to help the fight against cancer

Want to use your phone to help the battle against cancer? Vodafone Australia has launched a new Android app called DreamLab, where your idle smartphone and a little bit of mobile data could help speed up research into four strains of cancer: breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate.

Vodafone has partnered with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney to produce a smartphone-powered, virtual supercomputer, designed to aid researchers in finding cures for cancer. The medical institute will tap into the processing power of your phone and use it to perform small calculations, the results of which are then sent back to Garvan. Vodafone claims with 1,000 users, problems could be solved up to 30 times faster, potentially leading to more medical breakthroughs.

Related: FDA approves use of bioengineered Herpes virus as cancer treatment

vodafone-dreamlab-appYou’ll be able to choose what types of cancer to support, and how much data you’re willing to dedicate per month, which can be sent over a Wi-Fi or cellular connection. Because the phone must have a full battery to make its calculations and send back the results, it’s perfect for utilizing the downtime while your phone’s on charge overnight. Garvan and Vodafone promise the app won’t have access to any private information, so the paranoid should be able to use the app without fear.

Vodafone Australia won’t charge its users for using the DreamLab app over its own network, but those not connected to it or Wi-Fi will use small amounts of data, which will be charged for under your normal plan. The official page warns that roaming charges will apply to its customers if they start using the app abroad.

It’s not the first app of its type, with Folding@Home by Sony Mobile offering similar functionality, and Apple’s ResearchKit uses data from the millions of iPhone users to try and gain more analytical breakthroughs in medical research, rather than target focus groups.