So as to treat cancer successfully, doctors require data. But they do not need data about just a few things. In today’s medical research system, the inability to gather data about several things is missing, and this is making it difficult to treat this disease, Erich Lefkofsky, the co-founder and CEO of Tempus, said on Wednesday at the Fortune Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego.
While there is sufficient patient data out there, lack of sources that combine therapeutic data with genomic information is a major problem in the health care industry. Mr. Leftkofsky noted that other than molecular data, doctors need clinical data to be able to fight cancer efficiently. He explained that clinicians need to know which treatments their patients are on and how they are responding instead of only gathering data about their DNA and RNA makeup.
If a clinical researcher is observing several cancer patients taking Herceptin, he needs to get to know why it is working on 40 percent and not 60 percent of these participants. Moreover, the researchers should know what other things are going on with the patients who are not responding positively to the treatment. For example, are they diabetic? Or, are they taking other drugs?
About Eric Lefkofsky
Eric Lefkofsky, a philanthropist who has founded several organizations including Groupon (GRPN), Uptake Technologies, and Lightbank, was inspired to create a platform where doctors can collect adequate data for analysis when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. He began to reflect on how truck drivers often get valuable data on how to do their job as he sat in clinics with his wife. This realization motivated him to start an organization with a mission to establish databases and advance the treatment of cancer and named it Tempus.
Other than health, art and culture is another area of the Lefkofskys’ philanthropy. The family’s largest contribution to a single organization to date is seven million U.S. dollars, which they donated to the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. The Lefkofskys’ other major contributions to arts and culture include the $2.5 million to Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and the $ 1.5 million to the Art Institute of Chicago.