Tempus Founder Seeks to Make Data Driven Cancer Treatment

In the Tech News Spy article, “Tempus, Eric Lefkofsky, and the Rise of Data-Enabled Precision Medicine” Heidi Harris discusses the serial entrepreneur’s goals for his new company.

The article begins with several frightening statistics. 40% of American adults will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. By 2024, the National Cancer Institute expects close to 19 million citizens to be diagnosed with cancer.

Many, including Eric Lefkofsky, originally believed that the healthcare industry using the latest technology to drive more accurate treatments. However, when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, Mr. Lefkofsky discovered an uncomfortable truth. Despite having updates like electronic health records, the health industry did not have adequate data collection and digital technology despite the abundance of information being produced.

Data centering on the patients and the treatments may be abundant, but there was never a method to actually make use of the information. Tempus seeks to remedy that. It seeks to create a paradigm shift in cancer treatment by developing a digital library and platform. This platform will interpret the personal molecular data of the patient as well as the clinical information to provide individualized cancer treatment to each patient.

The company had several roadblocks along the way such as discovering accessible and affordable molecular, medical, and clinical data. Not to mention it also had to reorganize physicians notes to obtain the information. The company solved the issue by developing a software with machine learning, including language processing and character recognition abilities. The notes could then be transformed into data that could be applied to the treatment and care of cancer patients.

The company also uses human genome sequencing to fight the disease on the cellular and molecular level. The clinical information combined with the molecular information creates a personalized treatment plan. As the company gains more and more information, it will be able to provide a more precise medicine.

Eric Lefkofsky began the Tempus journey after discovering the issue when his wife was diagnosed. He co-founded the company in 2016. However, it is not his first journey in the entrepreneurial world. He co-founded several companies such as InnerWorkings, Echo Global Logistics, Mediaocean, and Groupon.

However, he is also a dedicated philanthropist. He began the Lefkofsky Foundation with his wife in 2006 to support educational and scientific organizations around the world. He also joined The Giving Pledge in 2013.

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