Inspired by clinical experience during her rotation year, CRUK Cambridge Centre PhD student Samantha Hodder, along with teammates Daniel Valentine and Alex Hung, have recently come third in Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow Competition.
The app they developed, called Chum, allows children with cancer the opportunity to learn about their disease and feel less frightened about treatments and procedures. The app came third in the recent final of Samsung’s competition on 27th June, where teams of young people aged 16-25 pitched their ideas for apps that solve some of the world’s biggest issues.
Samantha was inspired by clinical shadowing experience she undertook as part of her first year of the CRUK Cambridge Centre’s innovative MRes plus PhD Programme in Cancer Biology in 2019. All students on the programme spend their first year learning about cancer biology and medicine, and gaining laboratory and clinical experience leading to a Master of Research (MRes) degree qualification, before embarking on their PhD research.As part of initial rotations, students are given the opportunity to shadow clinicians working in cancer clinics and wards for 2 weeks.
“Following Dr Amos Burke and colleagues in the children’s oncology wards at Addenbrookes was one of the best experiences of my life. Doing a lab based PhD means that you don’t normally get to see the impact of research on patients. It was so inspiring to see how the whole clinical team at Addenbrookes come together to treat children with cancer, from oncologists to nurses to play specialists. The experience has stayed with me and the Chum app has been directly inspired by that fortnight” said Samantha Hodder.
Samantha has teamed up with designers Daniel Valentine and Alex Chung to put her experience to good use, and has developed the concept for a digital Chum to partner children during their cancer journey. Using games and animations, children can learn about cancer in an interactive way, exploring their questions about what is happening and helping them feel less frightened about procedures and treatments.
Image credit: Samsung and Digital Catapult