One of the most astounding advances in data and medical science, over the last decade, has been the advent of cheap and fast human genome sequencing. In 2003, the first human genome was sequences, at a cost of over $100,000,000. Today, the average human genome can be sequenced in a fraction of the time, for just $5,000. This dramatic reduction in the cost and time has led to a veritable trove of data, with which researchers physicians oncologists can erect a new and powerful framework within which to understand the ways in which cancer treatments work.
Eric Lefkofsky is one of Chicago’s most prominent tech entrepreneurs. After having co-founded the volume-discount leader Groupon, he went on to found a number of other highly successful startups. But then his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. After accompanying her to various appointments, he was shocked to discover that oncologists often have little access to good data and that the analytics available to them are often woefully lacking. Lefkofsky began researching the problem of how to get good data into the hands of oncologists on the ground. In 2016, Eric Lefkofskyfounded Tempus.
Tempus is dedicated to collecting and storing all relevant data for a given type of cancer and its treatment. Through the use of advanced machine-learning algorithms, it seeks to provide oncologists with real-time, highly granular data that will allow them to maximize the chances of their patients making a successful recovery. Tempus is focused heavily on developing databases and analytic techniques that use the huge reams of data created by the easy and cheap sequencing of the human genome. With genomic data at their disposal, Lefkofsky believes that oncologists, in the near future, will be able to tailor treatment regimes to their patients in ways never before imagined. This holds the promise of both increasing effectiveness of cancer treatments as well as dramatically reducing the huge collateral damage that is endemic in the cancer treatment field.
Tempus is helping to fuel a new revolution in cancer treatment, one that will see almost complete customizability of treatment regimens. It could eventually lead to outcomes indistinguishable from a cure.
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