According to the National Cancer Institute, about 40% of Americans deal with cancer at some point in their lifetime. In 2014, 14.5 million people were diagnosed with cancer, and by 2024 the number is estimated to rise to roughly 19 million. This means that the probability of knowing someone in your life that has cancer is very high.
This was the reality faced by Eric Lefkofsky, when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. While supporting her through her care, he noticed the large gaps in the technological care of cancer patients. That is where Tempus came in. Through this company, Eric and his cofounder discovered one way they could help was to develop a system to condense and streamline information on patients. The only way to get information on patients waz through doctor notes, which were kept in free text form with no way to locate specifics. Through their system, using natural language processing and optical character recognition capabilities, cancer patients critical information is now brought to the surface in a way that is comprehensible for doctors and researchers.
One main data Tempus is collecting is human genome sequencing. In 2003, this process was extremely expensive, $100 million and up. Today, however, this process can be done for $5,000 and is expected to be lowered even more thanks to Tempus.
Eric Lefkofsky was born in Michigan in 1969. He graduated University of Michigan in 1991, and then moved on to graduate the University of Michigan Law School with his Juris Degree two years later. Instead of practicing law, however, he became a leader of the dot-com revolution.
While born in Michigan, Eric has spent most of his life in Chicago where Tempus is headquartered. He co-founded Groupon, and now he serves the Lurie’s Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and the Art Institute of Chicago on tbe board of directors, as well as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
Eric Lefkofsky and companies like Tempus are making leaps to cover the gaps in technological care of cancer patients, with goals of making the care more affordable and attainable to everyone.