Players control a nanobot named Roxxi in a series of 20 missions through the bodies of young patients with different kinds of cancer. As they seek out and destroy malignant cells, battle bacterial infections and regulate dangerous side effects on the body, players increase their confidence in their ability to manage their disease—all while being entertained on their PC. "From a creative standpoint, it was important to get patient feedback to make sure this effort would not only appeal to them, but be used as an educational tool as well," says Szymczyk. "So patients actually had a hand in selecting the design of the site and features they themselves would use." Best of all, results of a formal study indicate that Re-Mission truly helps—patients who played the game showed significant increases in quality of life, self-efficacy and cancer-related knowledge, and even maintained higher blood levels of chemotherapy and displayed higher rates of antibiotic utilization. In other words, the game actually helped patients respond more effectively to their cancer treatment.
In addition to the game itself, visitors to Re-Mission.net can find resources like the "What's Up Doc?" advice and information section, as well as blogs and message boards filled with inspirational stories, art, poetry and shared links to helpful sites.