Guy’s and St Thomas’ app boosts life-saving research

The King’s Health Partners Cancer Biobank at Guy’s and St Thomas’, in partnership with Focus Games, has launched this week an app to help patients understand the biobank and why their consent is so important.

The game is designed to get more patients taking part in life-saving research by explaining patient consent and to deliver the information explaining the biobank. Biobanks store blood and tissue samples for use in medical research and play a key role in helping scientists understand diseases and find new treatments. However, they cannot collect and save samples without the explicit consent of patients.

The Biobanking Game is a unique app that delivers vital information to patients that explains the consent process. It can be offered to patients on tablet devices in a clinic or they can download it from an app store free of charge to play at home.

Dr Cheryl Gillett, head of biobanking at Guy’s and St Thomas’, and King’s College London, said: “We know that many patients struggle with the amount of information they receive when facing a cancer diagnosis. This often means that information explaining the biobank and patient consent can be overlooked.”

“That’s why we’ve worked with Focus Games on a new approach to avoid us missing people who want to sign up and help support live-saving research. Patients and visitors were involved in developing the app from the outset and they pulled no punches telling us what they liked, didn’t like and what they wanted.”

The game was created with funding from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. It takes the patient through the consent process step by step and allows them to return to it multiple times to check understanding.

‘Sammy the Sample’ is the guide and question-master – he takes you on a journey from hospital clinic to biobank to research lab. Along the way the character shows you the impact that research using donated samples has made on patient care today and tests your knowledge.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Focus Games Ltd are commercialising the app by creating customised versions for other biobanks and clinical trial projects around the world.

The Biobanking Game can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play free of charge. For more details visit