Eric Lefkofsky Explains How Tempus Is Helping Treat Cancer


Advancements have been made in the medical field already, but the medical community is poised to take things even further when personalized medicine is a reality. Eric Lefkofsky spoke about this issue recently, and he was asked what the biggest obstacles to personalizing healthcare might be.


Eric answered this question in just one word: data.


In the past 20 years, Eric Lefkofsky has been structuring unstructured data. He also found it necessary to bring this technology to others who have never had it before, and this technology includes logistics, manufacturing, printing and local commerce.


Eric has experience with patients who are fighting disease after a close family member was diagnosed with cancer, and he saw the inefficiencies of the medical industry up close.


He came to the conclusion that a basic data infrastructure did not exist and that clinical data is needed.


Specifically, it is the key phenotypic therapeutic and outcome response data that is missing. Actually, this data is being held hostage inside large medical records systems, and the purpose of this is to ensure that the bills are paid.


Physicians need to have the ability to obtain clinical data so that it can be combined with the patient’s molecular data. Then, patterns can be discovered at a broad molecular level. In order to do this, clinical data has to be structured in a manner that makes it possible to combine it with molecular data.


Once the data has been structured, Eric would like to see his company Tempus and others like it move clinical data out of the medical records systems and placed where it can be combined with molecular data.


Who Does it Work For?


In the present time, physicians know that a particular drug will help some patients, but it will not necessarily improve everyone’s condition. The important question to ask is, “Who does it work for?”


Data is what will answer the question above. When physicians are able to access the data, they will be able to compare their patients’ molecular data to the clinical data. For example, the data may show that patients with particular phenotypic molecular characteristics do not respond well to a drug. If a physician has a patient with the same phenotypic molecular characteristics, he or she will know that the patient is not likely to respond to the drug. The physician has the option of putting the patient on the drug, but it may be for a much shorter time. The physician can also decide to stay away from certain therapies.



The Future of Tempus


Eric discussed what the future holds for Tempus, and the first thing he said that he wanted to do was build the data set. The company has already created the technology needed to clean up the data and structure it. They can currently structure notes, slides and radiology scans and place them into the company’s newly built library. Their partners have permission to access the library when they are performing their research.


At the moment, Tempus is focused on cancer, but Tempus’ partners have been expressing the desire to have clinical data on diseases other than cancer.


About Eric Lefkofsky


Eric Lefkofsky co-founded Tempus and is currently the CEO of the company. Tempus is the technology company that built the operating system that is being used to fight cancer. Currently, the company gathers genomic data that is subjected to statistical analyses to discover how a patient can best be served by his or her physician.


Eric Lefkofsky has been a serial entrepreneur for many years and is known for his many other companies that he has started before Tempus. These include Uptake, Mediaocean, Echo Global Logistics and Inner Workings. He was also the founder and CEO of Groupon, but he vacated his role as CEO when he co-founded his current company Tempus. Eric and his wife are also members of The Giving Pledge, and as such, they made a promise to give 50 percent of their fortune to charity.

Chicago Tribune


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