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Brisbane, March 25, 2021 – “A week in the life of a cancer cell” could be the title of a new VR gamified experience at World Science Week from skin cancer prevention expert Dr Elke Hacker.
Put on the goggles and you’re inside a body fighting proliferating melanoma skin cancer cells through a VR game whose user-centred design aims to engage and educate young people on how cancer begins and methods of treatment in the fight against the deadly spread of melanoma cancer cells.
“VR has been shown to be more effective for memory recall and behaviour change than digital desktop delivery,” Dr Hacker said. “We combined it with gaming elements to provide an entertaining communication channel relevant to a young audience.”
This immersive VR experience is a first-person shooter game in which the user is transported into the lungs of a human body where a dark, pigmented melanoma begins to grow. The user’s task is to fight the cancer by ‘shooting’ it with several treatments including chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
“As the game progresses, the cancer cells become resistant and the user must escalate through the treatments to defeat the cancer. It is designed to show the difficulty of treating late-stage cancer and promote sun-safety habits and the importance of early detection,” says Dr Hacker. “We undertook a study testing the VR game on the target audience, who found it engaging and the actual virtual reality experience of travelling through the human body safe.”
The study’s findings were peer reviewed and published in JMIR Serious Games, entitled “A Case Study on the Development of a Virtual Reality Game to Change Behaviour and Prevent Cancer: User-Centered Design Approach”.
The VR experience will be available at the XR Hub Space in the Valley on Sunday 28 March from 9am and 4pm and will be conducted under strict COVID-19–safe conditions. Dr Hacker said she was looking forward to hearing feedback from participants on the day.
Horsham C, Dutton-Regester K, Antrobus J, Goldston A, Price H, Ford H, Hacker E
A Virtual Reality Game to Change Sun Protection Behavior and Prevent Cancer: User-Centered Design Approach
JMIR Serious Games 2021;9(1):e24652