Noncommunicable diseases such as cancer are a leading cause of death across the globe. Genetic and environmental factors lead to the development of lung cancer. The most common environmental risk factor is tobacco smoking. Research done by Dr. Yafang Li and team investigated the role gene-smoking interactions play in the etiology of lung cancer. The OncoArray Consortium provided the phenotype and genotype data used in the study. The research focused on three Single-nucleotide polymorphisms identified as biomarkers for lung cancer intervention and screening. Researchers can now categorize lung cancer risk by smoking behavior and create personalized prediction and prognosis of treatment. However, the study limited its sample to the Caucasian population hence the findings may not be applicable for other genetic backgrounds.
In this age of technology and the internet of things, the general expectation is that there is sufficient data on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of these diseases. But as Eric Lefkofsky discovered, there is insufficient data on the same. He believes molecular and clinical data on patients suffering from various illnesses should be readily available. Insurance companies, clinicians, physicians, pharmaceuticals and other stakeholders should have the information within an arm’s reach. While molecular data, DNA and protein sequencing, is easily available, finding clinical data may take days and a lot of extra efforts. Clinical data refers to the therapeutic, outcome response and phenotypic information on a patient.
Aware of the challenges, Eric Lefkofsky cofounded Tempus, a technology-based company dedicated to the battle against cancer. The company offers both DNA and RNA sequencing. As CEO of the company, Eric Lefkofsky leads the team in creating innovative solutions to modernize cancer treatment. Tempus’ primary objective is to help healthcare professionals make data-informed, customized and timely decisions through analysis of patient genetic codes based on molecular therapies. The company collects and analyzes genomic data using its algorithms and statistical data to provide information and opportunities that assist medical practitioners in offering precision medicine. With the Tempus data, a doctor can develop a treatment and care plan tailored for particular patients. Currently, Tempus is focusing on lung, pancreatic and breast cancer patients and hope to add other types in the future. Eric Lefkofsky leads an experienced team with specialties in product development, data engineering, and management.
Lighbank, another Eric Lefkofsky co-founded enterprise, is a venture fund focusing on disruptive technologies. Some of his other projects include co-founding Uptake Technologies, MediaOcean, InnerWorkings and Echo Global Logistics. All of the above companies provide tech solutions in various fields including logistics, media, print and promotion and analytics. Through the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, Eric Lefkofsky supports various high-impact community-based initiatives. In the past, the family foundation has donated to the Northwestern University Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Stanford University research on gastric cancer, University of Michigan cancer research and medicine for Weill Cornell Medicine breast cancer research. Eric Lefkofsky, a University of Michigan alumnus, is a trustee of the Museum of Science and Industry, the Art Institute of Chicago, World Business Chicago and Lurie Children’s Hospital Chicago.