How Eric Lefkofsky’s Company is Changing the War on Cancer

Four in 10 Americans are expected to develop cancer at some point in their lives. Fortunately, much progress has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of this dreaded disease, and many of the advances in this area are attributable to the work done by such companies as Tempus. This Chicago-based firm has developed a method that can improve cancer treatment through the principle of human genome sequencing.

Although many types of cancer treatment are available today, the effectiveness of any one method often comes down to understanding the specific needs of the person receiving treatment. Tempus has satisfied these needs by developing a platform that can analyze the clinical and molecular composition of individual patients. The result is a major transformation in the way medical health care delivered.

Eric Lefkofsky, who helped establish Tempus, faced a personal crisis when his wife Liz was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was then that he also learned of the inadequacies in the manner that cancer data was being collected and stored. This problem was overcome by the software that would be developed by his company. Possessing language and character recognition capabilities, this software enabled the faster processing of patient information that is often recorded by hand. Notes could thus be transformed into structured data that could be used in the treatment process.

The work by Tempus will help shift treatment strategies to techniques targeting molecules and cells. The end result will be the development of specific treatments that can be more effective and less costly. Such personalized methods may eventually extend from cancer to the treatment of other diseases.

Although he has been long associated with Chicago, Eric Lefkofsky was born in Detroit. A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, he would later teach at Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, a division of DePaul University, and at the Kellogg School of Business, which is part of Northwestern University. He is currently adjunct professor at the Booth School of Business division of the University of Chicago.

In addition to his academic service, the 47-year-old entrepreneur serves on the boards of some notable organizations, including the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Memorial Hospital and the Art Institute of Chicago.

About Eric Lefkofsky: lefkofskyfoundation.com/about-eric-lefkofsky/

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