A digital agency has teamed up with Manchester’s world leading cancer hospital, The Christie, to deliver an app designed to help child patients understand how cancer treatment works.

Manchester-based Corporation Pop has introduced the new Xploro app after four years of development to provide augmented reality ‘virtual friends’ which they customise and name.

The internationally renowned cancer centre commissioned the agency to create a brand new module for Xploro to be used by children undergoing proton beam therapy cancer treatment.

It includes unique environments modelled on the hospital itself and a 3D experience showing exactly what happens when someone has the treatment.

The agency’s managing director Dom Raban was inspired to develop the app after seeing the importance of giving children and young people the right information when treated in hospital.

In 2011 Raban’s 13-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. Now cancer-free and at university, she spent much of the 12 months following her diagnosis undergoing various treatments including 15 rounds of chemotherapy, blood transfusions, stem cell treatment and ten weeks of proton beam therapy.

Raban said little age-appropriate information was available for his daughter who was too old for books but too young for information.

“At Corporation Pop we’ve got a first-class team of app and game designers and developers so it seemed obvious that we put that expertise to good use,” he said.

“After four years of hard work and significant government funding it’s fantastic to see the app being used by children at one of the hospitals that my daughter was treated at.”

After trials at The Christie and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, the company said its Xploro app will be available for wider use, and will include an artificially intelligent chatbot which can answer any questions the child has about going to hospital.

Raban and his team are already in talks with hospitals around the UK, Europe and North America and the future for ‘Xploro’ lies in its expansion.

The agency said there are already plans to create versions for other illnesses such as diabetes and asthma as well as develop the app for older audiences. By next year Xploro will also be available in other languages.