Vodafone Foundation has launched an international hunt for climate change research partners, including across Ireland, to help expand the focus of its award-winning DreamLab smartphone app.
Developed by Vodafone Foundation, DreamLab is a specialist crowdsourcing app that accelerates scientific research by using the combined processing power of dormant smartphones while users charge them. Dreamlab-powered research has already contributed to COVID-19 research in the UK with Imperial College London and cancer research in Australia, with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
With more than 2 million downloads across 17 countries to date, the network of smartphones created by DreamLab is equivalent to a virtual supercomputer capable of processing billions of calculations without collecting or disclosing any users’ data.
In the year when the UN has identified climate change as the single biggest threat facing humans, Vodafone Foundation Ireland is now searching for organisations across the country conducting research that requires the large-scale processing power of DreamLab to analyse data on climate change.
To qualify, organisations in Ireland would need to have an existing climate research project that is technically compatible with DreamLab and is addressing a specific climate-related issue that appeals across the 17 countries currently hosting the DreamLab platform.
Liz Roche Head of Foundation and Sustainable Business at Vodafone Ireland said: “The impact that DreamLab has had since its development in 2015 when it comes to cancer research, and more recently, Covid-19, has been incredible. We have been blown away by the collective processing power of Vodafone customers who have downloaded the app and the success that we have seen so far shows us the power we could have in helping to address climate change by using DreamLab to help in driving climate research. We know that we can achieve so much when we work together, and we welcome the opportunity to work with organisations in Ireland to help tackle the emergency that is climate change.”
Organisations looking to submit an expression of interest to partner with Vodafone Foundation and the DreamLab app are encouraged to visit the Vodafone Foundation website https://www.vodafone.com/vodafone-foundation/focus-areas/dreamlab-app#dreamlab-app-goes-green
Using Dreamlab to accelerate research into cancer
DreamLab was launched in the UK in December 2018 to power vitally important cancer research being carried out at Imperial College London.
Using DreamLab to analyse the properties of more than 8,000 everyday foods, the research identified more than 110 anti-cancer molecules existed in everyday foods including oranges, cabbages and grapes.
The second discovery was that two existing drugs designed for treated other conditions could potentially play a role in anti-cancer therapy. With these drugs already in therapeutic use, their approval for use in fighting cancer carries lower costs, fewer risks and is quicker than developing completely new drugs.
The research facilitated by DreamLab has been reporting in scientific paper published by Nature, and Imperial researchers published a Hyperfoods Cookbook, featuring ten recipes that incorporate foods found by the research to have disease fighting properties.
Dreamlab Corona-AI – accelerating research into potential treatments for COVID-19
The DreamLab Corona-AI project was launched in April 2020 by Vodafone Foundation and Imperial College London, repurposing DreamLab to accelerate research into potential treatments for COVID-19 patients. DreamLab Corona-AI uses AI network machine learning to analyse virus-host interactome data and identify combinations of drugs and food molecules with anti-viral properties.
To date, the DreamLab Corona-AI project has completed more than 300 million calculations and tested 450 billion molecular combinations – the equivalent of 11,664 years of high-spec desktop computing time.
The first phase of DreamLab Corona-AI was completed in only six months and identified insights into existing medicines for cardiovascular and metabolic disorders and their potential to be ‘repurposed’ to target SARS-CoV-2. Alongside those findings, the project has pin-pointed molecules with antiviral properties in everyday foods including berries, apples, oranges, lemons cabbage, broccoli, onions, garlic, parsley, and beans.
Phases 2 and 3 are expected to complete in December 2021, with the results being made available to the medical community to facilitate clinical trials. Food-related findings could potentially lead to additional dietary advice that may help patients recovering from COVID-19.
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