Whether it’s on the cricket pitch or the football field, the rivalry between Aussies, Kiwis and Brits is fierce. But almost one hundred thousand Australians and New Zealanders have put aside this rivalry for a greater good, their phones contributing almost 20 million calculations to crunch cancer research data for the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

Another night, another milestone for cancer research

Last night – while most of us were snoozing —the final calculations for Project Genetic Profile were completed. Thanks to the thousands of everyday ‘Dreamers’, the DreamLab app finished its final calculations on Project Genetic Profile, getting us one step closer to uncovering new, more effective cancer treatments.  Genetic Profile was the second project powered by DreamLab but represents the first to be collectively powered by Australian and New Zealand users, alongside our Northern hemisphere friends. The project, which looked at the genetic similarities between brain, lung, melanoma and sarcoma cancers was completed in twice as fast* than the amount of time it would have taken Garvan’s super computers without the push from DreamLab users,

Dr Warren Kaplan, Chief of Informatics at the Garvan Institute, said the DreamLab app showed the power of ‘citizen science’ – where members of the community make a tangible impact on research progress.

“Cancer is a disease of the DNA, and to understand more about cancer, how to detect, diagnose and treat it better, we must analyse data from sequencing or ‘decoding’ the DNA of cancer patients. It’s incredibly motivating and encouraging to see how many of our friends from across the Tasman have supported our research endeavour.”

What’s next for DreamLab?

With Project Genetic Profile completed, Garvan and The Vodafone Foundation have launched Project Demystify on DreamLab.  Project Demystify seeks to understand, or connect the dots, between physical human traits such as hair colour, eye colour, height and even the symptoms of our diseases with their genetic base.  The human genome comprises of approximately 6.4 billion combinations of proteins, or genotypes. Most of these combinations are unchanged in all people, but typically each person has approximately 5 million genetic variants that are unique to that individual.

Complicated calculations are required to determine the most appropriate correlation test for each trait– it is these calculations that will be computed via Project Demystify on the DreamLab app. It is hoped that through DreamLab calculations scientist will be able to determine how genetic variations correlate with clinical information.

DreamLab presents a unique opportunity: bringing together the computing power of thousands of phones all around the world and helping researchers get one step closer to solving cancer.

Download DreamLab on iOS from App Store and for Android on the Google Play store, and you can help fight in your sleep.

For more information on the DreamLab app and how it works, check out our Australian DreamLab page or our New Zealand DreamLab page.


*Calculation based on two computer servers assigned to Project Genetic Profile data analysis.


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Meg Retka-Tidd

Senior Manager, Partners & Programs, Vodafone Foundation

Meg Retka-Tidd,
Senior Manager, Partners & Programs, Vodafone Foundation

Working closely with our partners The Garvan Institute and Hello Sunday Morning, Meg helps the Vodafone Foundation live out its day-to-day purpose of using technology to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians.