How Eric Lefkofsky is Using Technology to Curb Cancer
Cancer is a complex disease which has now affected a significant percentage of the world’s population in a way. Advances in research have shown cancer to be a genetic disease which can be fought well at a molecular level. This means that there is a set of unique genetic formation for a cancer patient as well as cancer. Since the fight against cancer has trickled down to a molecular level, data is very crucial if this precision medicine is to succeed. One of the leading labs in data collection is Tempus Labs Inc. The co-founder is a billionaire businessman Eric Lefkofsky whose goal is to help with personalised treatments for cancer patients. Serving as the CEO of the company he has been quick to add to his team an array of cancer doctors and formed partnerships with more than half of the major academic medical centers.
Even though Eric is a renowned investor in the online marketplaces, his motivation for helping in treatments for cancer came from a personal encounter. A close family member of his was diagnosed with breast cancer some years back. In his quest to seek treatment in hospitals, he noticed that the medical centers did not have the required data to assist them. They were little informed on modern technology. He aims to address this challenge to help other millions of people out there who could be in a similar situation.
Tempus is a technological company that was founded to assist oncologists to make more informed decisions based on data analytics. In the past, healthcare data of a cancer patient was not being kept in a way that other oncologists can refer to in the future. This situation meant the data was there but owned by just a few medical centers. This information is very crucial to other physicians in the diagnosis of cancer patients. To solve this problem, the firm is building the most extensive library in the world for clinical and molecular data for cancer patients. They will then create a system that will allow access for various parties. With this kind of data researchers and other medical practitioners will be able to compare the current situation with others in the past to see what did work and what failed in the past. This data based analysis will enable one to make a more informed decision.
In their mission to ensure they achieve their goal, Tempus has partnered with most community hospitals and the National Cancer’s Institute cancer centers. They also offer other services such as image recognition, DNA and RNA genomic sequencing of tumors, pathology, and immune system characterization of patients. With over 400 employees the company recently surpassed $1 billion in worth attaining a unicorn status. As more data is being collected on the various cancers, researchers will be able to study them on a molecular level to gain a better understanding which will lead to improved treatment methods.
Eric Lefkofsky attended Univesity of Michigan for his undergraduate and later attained his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. Before founding health startup, he had helped develop many successful companies such as Lightbank, Groupon, Uptake Technologies and Echo Global Logistics. He is also the author of Accelerated Disruption and lectures part-time at the University of Chicago Business School. An active philanthropist, together with her wife they established the Lefkofsky Family Foundation enable him to support the needy and other charitable causes in the community. Being highly influential in Chicago he served on several boards there. He is the chairman of Steppenwolf Theater Company and a board member in Children’s Memorial Hospital, Art Institute of Chicago and World Business Chicago.