Modern technology gives us many things.

How you can help fight cancer in your sleep with your smartphone


Do you want to help fight cancer in your sleep? Well, you can by putting your smartphone to work for the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the Vodafone Foundation.

It all starts by downloading the Dream Lab app, available for iOS and Android, which combines the processing power of Australian smartphones connected to the internet.

This set-up creates the world’s first distributed supercomputer working on cancer research.

Users can get started by donating the power of their smartphone while they’re sleeping.

The aim of the Garvan Institute and the Vodafone Foundation is to get one million Australians to download the app and become Dream Lab Cancer Researchers.

Dream Lab has been set up to assist in cancer research and to gain a larger amount of computing power to process the massive amount of data and complex information.

Smartphones have a lot of computing power and they can be put to use while they’re idle – like when you’re asleep.

DreamLab then takes that collective computing power to fast track cancer research and send the results to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research – one of the world’s leading cancer research teams.


They’re working hard to fight some of Australia’s biggest killers – breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.

“It’s only through medical research that we’ll be able to solve cancer, and medical research generates a vast amount of complex data and information that must be analysed in order to make the next discovery,” said Dr Samantha Oakes, Breast Cancer Researcher from the Garvan Institute.

“We’re a smartphone-obsessed nation and now we have a tremendous opportunity to use our phones to help speed up research.”

Professor David Thomas, Head of the Cancer Division at the Garvan Institute said: “DreamLab is helping us tackle the huge amount of data that we’re producing by sequencing or ‘decoding’ the DNA of cancer patients.

“Cancer is a disease of the DNA, so by crunching and analysing this data, we hope to understand more about cancer, how to detect, diagnose and treat it better.”


In earlier trials, there have been 150,000 DreamLab users that have helped solve cancer- related research issues in half the time it would have taken using the usual research methods.


DreamLab is a free app that’s easy to use. Users need a working internet connection, download the app and put their phone on charge.

–  Choose how you want to help: Once the DreamLab app has been downloaded, the user can choose to support Project Decode which looks at breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer, or Project Genetic Profile which seeks to understand lung, melanoma, sarcoma and brain cancer

Nominate your data contribution: Users can nominate how much data they would like to contribute via their mobile plan (50MB, 250MB or 500MB a month), and/or home Wi-Fi network (500MB, 1GB or unlimited a month). For Vodafone Australia customers, the mobile data to use DreamLab is free on the Vodafone mobile network in Australia. Using DreamLab while international roaming incurs data roaming charges

– Charge up to power medical research: Simply put your phone on charge and power up DreamLab to get to work solving cancer problems.

– You can even change your title on LinkedIn to ‘Cancer Researcher at DreamLab App’ and spread the word.