Breast cancer patients seeking care at the University of Chicago now have the opportunity to improve the future of treatment plans in addition to improving their own outcomes. The University of Chicago recently announced that it will partner with Tempus to collect and use data for improved planning and keeping patients better informed about their options. Tempus was founded in 2015 by Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky and his long-time business partner Brad Keywell. Since then, the company has collected extensive data about many cancer patients to use in an innovative new platform.
How Tempus Works
Tempus works on the premise of recognizing that each person’s cancer is unique. Also, each person’s molecular makeup is different. However, some people have similar genetic profiles cancer mutations. Genetic alterations determine how effective a treatment will be for a person. For example, a treatment that has a high overall success rate for breast cancer patients may not work well for several people who have similar genetic profiles to one another but not to the majority of patients who had success with the popular treatment.
Tempus studies each person’s cancer and then uses several bits of information to match the person to similar profiles. It helps determine treatment worked best for the majority of those people. The technology then suggests treatments for better outcomes for individuals, and doctors at participating health facilities have access to that information. Also, they have access to more detailed data about past studies and other information that is useful to their patients.
How Tempus Started
In recent years, Eric’s wife Elizabeth was diagnosed with breast cancer. Eric spent less time working to support his wife by attending treatment sessions and appointments with her. During her treatment, he noticed that there was little available information about successful breast cancer treatments. The physicians seemed to have limited information as well, and treatment plans were decided based on cumulative success rates rather than success rates connected to individual factors such as a person’s genetic makeup and the cancer’s specific mutations.
Eric thought about Echo Global Logistics, which was a startup of his designed to help personalize and improve logistics for truckers. He thought that a similar structure with a detailed database of information about breast cancer survivors, their extensive genetic information and their treatment plans could be used to devise personalized treatment plans for other cancer patients. He worked with Brad Keywell to develop and launch Tempus. Eric was so confident in success of Tempus that he funded it himself and serves as the CEO. As a self-funded company, Tempus holds advantages over other cancer technology companies. Eric said that Tempus will change cancer treatment for patients the same way Google changed searching for consumers.
How Tempus Will Help University Of Chicago Breast Cancer Patients
Professors, doctors and researchers at the University of Chicago are excited about the new partnership with Tempus. Over 1,000 breast cancer patients will be treated using the advanced technology of Tempus. Patients will be tested to build genetic profiles, and their tumors will be analyzed for specific mutation and growth data. Each person’s combined genetic and cancer data will be matched to existing similar profiles for better treatment options. When physicians present the options to patients, they will also have more detailed information to explain procedures. This will help patients make more informed decisions. Also, breast cancer patients at the University of Chicago will become part of the database of information, which will help future breast cancer patients receive personalized plans for improved outcomes.
The idea is that the database will grow so large over time that genetic and cancer growth profiles will be matched to more specific sets of data, and this will help researchers track trends for fine-tuned research as well. Eric and Brad hope that the technology will assist researchers in finding a cure for breast cancer as well as other forms of cancer. A professor of genetics at the University of Chicago said that although breast cancer is one of the most common cancers, there is only a small amount of information about past successful treatment plans and extensive genetic data for survivors. Researchers at the institution also said that they hope other universities will partner with Tempus to improve personalized cancer care. Northwestern University, the University of Michigan and Rush University Medical Center are just a few of the teaching facilities that are also working with Tempus.
About Eric Lefkofsky
Eric Lefkofsky lives in Chicago with his wife and three children. Eric and his family members are known for their selfless philanthropy, and he is also known for being a successful entrepreneur. He started his career as a carpet salesman while he was attending college at the University of Michigan. After earning his undergraduate degree there, Eric went on to graduate from the University of Michigan Law School. In the 1990s, he and his business partner Brad Keywell started a promotional product company called Starbelly. They sold it in 1999 and moved on to other business ventures.
For the first decade of the 2000s, Eric spent most of his time at InnerWorkings. He co-founded the company, which provided print procurement services for midsize businesses. In 2005, Eric and Brad partnered to start Echo Global Logistics. A year later, the duo founded MediaBank to help advertising buyers plan, finance and execute their programs with a special software program. Eric is most known for being the CEO of Groupon, which was founded in 2009. He did not become CEO until 2013 after the company was sold to investors. Groupon is an online platform for local merchants in various cities to offer discounts and coupons for products or services, and the successful idea has spread across the country quickly.
Eric and Brad started Lightbank in 2010. The company is a capital venture firm for Chicago-based startups. The two also started Uptake in 2014, which is a predictive analysis company. Brad is the CEO of Uptake. Eric stepped down as CEO of Groupon in 2015 but still holds the role of chairman. He now spends most of his time as CEO of Tempus. In his spare time, Eric enjoys spending time with his family. Brad and his wife Elizabeth started the Lefkofsky Family Foundation in 2006. The organization supports scientific, educational and charitable causes around the globe. There is special funding for human rights and education groups that improve the quality of life in needy communities, and the couple donate a considerable amount of money to Chicago-based education and science programs each year.