Many of us contribute to organizations dedicated to cancer research in hopes that our money will help find a cure and this is a good idea.However, something we don’t often realize is that the data gathered by all this cancer research to which we contribute is not lodged in some central location, available to all medical personnel for analysis and research. The organizations that conduct research own the information and though they certainly use it to the best of their abilities, it is of limited usefulness because of the curtailed number of people who can access the data.
Enter Eric Lefkofsky. Lefkofshy realized that there was a great amount of cancer data floating around hospitals and medical centers that was not being exploited by a wide audience. He founded a company, Tempus, to take all the little bits of data floating around in an environment and organize it into information.Currently, Lefkofsky is on a project for the University of Chicago School of Medicine to take the data of over 1000 breast cancer patients, organize it into a useful format, and make it available to all personnel authorized by the university. This is a large step forward for breast cancer practitioners.
As a rule, physicians have only the information of their own patients and that of published studies on which to base their treatment. This limited experience and exposure equally limits the information a particular doctor can bring into treatment decisions. With this large sampling, researchers and physicians at the University of Chicago will have a very large, well-organized body of information available. They can use this as a basis for future research, for treatment options and for creating a foundation for future analysis.Eric Lefofsky is a bit of an anomaly in the medical world. He has a degree in law from the prestigious University of Michigan and is the founder of Groupon, a universe of discount coupons to everything from blue jeans to ocean voyages. Lefofsky has served as a trustee of the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, the Chicago Art Institute and the Steppenwold Theater among many other charitable and professional involvements.