Vodafone Foundation’s DreamLab app honoured at UK Tech Awards 2019

November 15, 2019

Vodafone Foundation’s cancer research app wins Tech for Good award.

DreamLab, the Vodafone Foundation-funded and managed app that uses people’s phones to help with cancer research, has won the inaugural Tech for Good award at this year’s UK Tech Awards.

The award recognises companies that use technology for more than just financial gain, benefiting society as a whole. In a category crowded with equally impressive ventures from organisations large and small, the judges ultimately gave the gong to DreamLab.

“DreamLab is one of the things we do that I’m most proud of,” says Catherine Russell, Vodafone UK’s Head of Sustainable Business, “and having others also believe that it’s a great example of using tech to do cool things is so lovely.

“Thank-you UK Tech Awards and all the team who’ve bought DreamLab to life and continue using it to do amazing work.”

Every night, thousands of people plug in their smartphones to recharge and then launch the DreamLab app. Working together, the processing power of these phones crunches scientific data in a fraction of the time that it would take a standard PC or laptop.

All of that portable computing power has already led to tangible results – researchers at Imperial College London have made two important discoveries in the search for previously unknown cancer treatments.

Firstly, researchers using DreamLab have identified 110 molecules in foods that have cancer-beating properties. These molecules are found in everyday foodstuffs, from cabbage, carrots and celery, through to oranges, coriander and dill. Scientists are now conducting further research into how these molecules – and the foods in which they’re found – can be used to prevent and treat various cancers.

Secondly, DreamLab has discovered that two existing drugs originally designed for treating other medical conditions also have anti-cancer properties.

Researchers are investigating how the anti-microbial drug Rosoxacin and anti-diabetic drug Metformin could be redeployed to treat various cancers. Even though further research must be done to verify their effectiveness, this is still a remarkable development, as re-using existing drugs would be less costly and much faster than developing new ones from scratch.

DreamLab shows how technology can be a force for good, benefiting us all.

  • The Vodafone Foundation is a UK registered charity (1089625).
  • For more about the project click here.

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Vodafone UK connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed line connections, home and office broadband and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Having made the UK’s first mobile phone call and sent the first text message, Vodafone has a history as a tech pioneer. In 2018 we made the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G, and were first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. We now have 5G in more places than anyone else, with multiple locations now live across the UK and the rest of Europe.

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Connectivity is at the heart of what we do as it gives us a huge opportunity for good. We are using our network, products, talents and technology to help society prosper and respond to significant social and environmental issues.  Our free Digital Parenting magazine is helping families and schools across the UK to navigate the online world safely. Meanwhile, the Vodafone Foundation’s work with researchers at Imperial College is developing personalised cancer treatment using the processing power of smartphones.

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