Cancer Pioneer Eric Lefkowsky: It’s in the Details

Ask Tempus CEO Eric Lefkowsky about the missing link in cancer treatment, and he’ll tell you: We need more data. After all, Lefkowsky co founded Tempus in order to make cancer treatment more effective.

As Lefkowsky explained in San Diego at the Fortune Brainstorm Health conference recently, very few sources in medicine combine patient genomic information with therapeutic data. This means that clinicians presently lack the full knowledge of each patient’s course of treatment and how he or she responds to that treatment to learn more: click here.

Researchers need to look at why a certain percentage of a group responds to a treatment for a disease, such as breast cancer, but the others in the group don’t, Lefkowsky explains. Perhaps the non-responders have another pre-existing condition, such as diabetes, that prevents treatment from being effective. Or maybe those members of the group take medications that interfere with the effectiveness of the treatment being researched.

Lefkofsky, also co-founder of Groupon, started Tempus after his wife, Liz, received the diagnosis of breast cancer. He realized during that harrowing time of going to clinics that oncologists don’t get enough data to do their jobs properly, particularly when it comes to data describing how a given treatment works for a given patient group.

Tempus, a technology company, seeks to insert such data into each patient’s electronic medical record. This way, the practitioner can more clearly find connections between treatments leading to desirable results.

In addition to co-founding Tempus and Groupon, the industrious Lefkowsky also co-founded Lightbank, Uptake Technologies, Mediaocean, Echo Global Logistics and InnerWorkings. He formed the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, a private charity, with Liz in 2006. Lefkofsky serves as a trustee on many boards, including that of Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and he chairs the board of trustees of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company. An adjunct professor at the University of Chicago, Lefkowsky has also authored the book Accelerated Disruption. He received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

For more information about Eric Lefkowsky, connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook and follow him on Twitter (@lefkofsky).