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Food For The Sweet Tooth

Eric Lefkofsky Tackles Poor Flow of Cancer Data

Eric Lefkofsky is a busy entrepreneur founding and running more startup businesses than most people can even dream of. But he knows a vital opportunity when he spots an important product. And he did that when his wife was diagnosed with cancer.He realized that most truck drivers have more information about performing their jobs that do oncologists. And that’s not right, especially considering the oncologists are treating people for the most feared disease of the modern world.As the co-founder of numerous high tech companies, Lefkofsky knows about data flow. He realized that, although oncologists have lots of data about the cancer’s molecular structure, its DNA and RNA, that is not linked to clinical data. Clinical data refers to all other information about the patients. Do they have other diseases? Are they on other medications? How old are they? That kind of information could indicate why cancer drugs work on some people but not on others.

He told a Fortune Health interviewer that he’s been to 62 out of the 69 NCI cancer centers, and their data flow was broken. If he asked them something simple just as how many breast cancer patients did well on a particular drug, they couldn’t answer. They’d need 90 days and a grant to dig up that data. He says they should be able to call that up immediately from a database.That’s why he co-founded Tempus, a startup looking to establish databases so cancer clinicians can learn everything possible about who responds well to the best cancer medications and who doesn’t, so they can prescribe what works. That data should flow freely between clinicians, researchers, life insurance companies and biotech companies.

Eric Lefkofsky is most known as the co-founder and Chairman of the e-commerce platform Groupon. However, he has an entire portfolio of companies besides Tempus and Groupon. Mediaocean sells the integrated technology for media procurement. Innerworkings manages print and promotional services.He’s also an active philanthropist. Among others, he serves as a trustee for the Chicago Art Institute and World Business Chicago. He’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.