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Fighting cancer with video games

hopelab.JPGHopeLab is a non-profit organization that combines rigorous research with innovative solutions to improve the health and quality of life of young people with chronic illness. What does it mean? They’ve created a PC-based video game, Re-Mission which is a 3D shooter with 20 levels that takes the player on a journey through the bodies of young patients with different kinds of cancer. Players control a nanobot named Roxxi who destroys cancer cells, battles bacterial infections, and manages realistic, life- threatening side effects associated with the disease. Why?

They’re trying to help young cancer patients to fight their disease, but in an unusual way. If you’re playing, it’s much easier to learn and to improve your capabilities. With a video game, you can convince a child that he/she is able to win this battle. That’s why the aims of Hopelab are:

  • adherence to cancer medications
  • knowledge about cancer information embedded within the game
  • quality of life
  • self-efficacy: defined as the belief in the ability to take a certain course of action in a challenging situation

And the results are incredible:

  • the overall self-efficacy score of the patients increased significantly
  • Re-Mission players maintained higher blood levels of chemotherapy and showed higher rates of antibiotic utilization

So this innovative method was helpful in 80% of the patients. By the way, there is a whole community behind it . You can find blogs, message board or lists like this one: What was Your Weirdest Treatment Side Effect?

If you can afford, please support their mission as they plan to create interventions even for sickle-cell disease, obesity, autism or major depressive disorder.

Image source

Update: a great video on the subject.

27 Comments Post a comment
  1. Scott #

    What an amazing way to build confidence in a young cancer patient! I myself have a young cousin whos mother is currently undergoing treatment for cancer, and this game could be a great way to educate her on how her mothers’ body has to work to defend from it. We have explained to her the severity of it but as a child it’s difficult for her to understand the situation. How can you prepare a child for the worse if they dont understand what’s happeneing and why? But of course like all 10 year olds, video games are something they pick up in a matter of minutes. Great post!

    January 16, 2007
  2. Anything to help motivate young patients would be helpful. I have a young type 1 diabetic and it’s a bit of a challenge sometimes.

    January 16, 2007
  3. Who really now is engaged in the control of health? To mine it neglected the large pharmaceutical companies and the medical centers. There should be a centralized management WBR LeoP

    January 23, 2007
  4. What a terrific article!

    Send me an email and let me know if it would be okay to link this over on our site. Or I guess you can post it yourself also. Anyway, thanks for writing this.

    February 2, 2007
  5. Thank you Cash for bringing this to my attention. I may also post my articles there.

    February 2, 2007
  6. Ich erklare meinen Freunden uber diese Seite. Interessieren!

    April 11, 2007
  7. Interesting Blog. Thanks for putting this together.

    While video games can be entertaining, good nutrition can even be better.

    July 1, 2007
  8. Suliman Alhowaish #

    I am suliman from saudia arabia.
    one of my relative, she is student girl doing a new game for cancer patients, i need to know what kind of support to improve that game.

    Thank you .

    August 23, 2007
  9. Hello Suliman! Could you please tell us more about that game?

    August 23, 2007
  10. Excellent idea! I’m a member of a private organization too. Every weekend we would go to a hospital and a cancer home here in our place to distribute toys and food to children who have cancer. This Christmas we are still thinking about the nicest gift that we can give to each child. I think this video game would be the greatest gift to them. It’s not only cool but will surely develop the hope and confidence in each child so they can survive their illness. The problem however is with the price. This video game must be really expensive. So, let me post this comment for now and be very busy looking for sponsors for this next activity.

    November 2, 2007
  11. For educational purposes, you can get it free, as far as I’m concerned. You should contact them (Piers Sutton) for more information.

    November 2, 2007
  12. M o d #

    I am trying to get a link to download and beta test – My mother is in the hospital. Perhaps she can utilize game as a tool for some stress relief?

    December 1, 2007
  13. Hello!

    I think you should register first here:

    Then maybe you can download a beta version.

    December 2, 2007

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