Sony Foundation has awarded $520,000 to VR cancer research

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Applicants were encouraged to use VR in the fight against cancer.

The Sony Foundation has teamed with Australian cancer charity, Tour de Cure, to award $520,000 AUD in research funding grants to teams who’ll use virtual reality to work towards a cure.

Grant applicants were encouraged to partner with Sony Interactive Entertainment VR developers across the globe in order to create out-of-the-box ideas to help with cancer research, ranging from diagnosis, treatment and ultimately, a cure.

Three Australian teams have been awarded grants with the aim of better understanding youth and rare cancers in an effort to develop a cure. First, Professor Dan Catchpoole of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, SCHN, Sydney NSW will use VR to focus on specific genetic and biological information in large groups of young people with cancer in an effort to identify unique traits.

Next, Professor Sean O’Donoghue of Garvan Institute of Medial Research will use VR to visualise cancer mechanisms to represent what happens within cancerous tumours on a molecular and mechanical level.

Finally, Development Project Winner, Professor Alwan Chaun of UNSW and Liverpool Hospital and Professor Kate Stevens from The MARCS Institute at Western Sydney University will use VR psychologists and visual therapies to assist patients to direct their own pain management in their own time.

The grant money has been allocated between the three teams “depending on project needs and objectives.”

“We were thrilled to receive a variety of excellent applications for this grant,” Paul Mirabelle, Chairman of the Research, Support and Prevention Committee of Tour de Cure Australia. said. “The quality of the applications speaks to the shared commitment in the research community to approach the fight against cancer. Ultimately those projects selected were those that best reflected the method, determination and ambition needed for this new approach to research to be effective.”

For more on Tour de Cure, head here.

Disclosure: The author of the post is related through marriage to John Kirby, a member of the Sony Foundation’s board.