Cancer remains one of the most feared diseases of our time, and for a good reason. As it stands, statistics show that an estimated one and a half million individuals were diagnosed with various forms of the disease last year alone. Although many types exist, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer continue to affect millions of people annually. In spite of the billions of dollars that go into cancer research, we still have limited information on how specific cohorts of patients respond to each cancer treatment. With access to detailed cohort information, we may be able to better provide the best treatment option for each patient, increasing their odds of a successful outcome.
Increased Interest in Longevity
People from all walks of life today are showing an increased interest in improving their quality of life, getting healthier, and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Technology today is being used to enhance health and to help people of all ages and races live a healthier lifestyle. It is hoped that these technological advancements can help prevent many individuals from developing serious diseases such as cancer in the first place. But what about those who have already been diagnosed with cancer? How can technology be used to help these individuals? The answer may lie in gathering and using biotechnical and genetic based information to form more targeted cancer treatments.
The Biotech Cancer Connection
In recent years, more and more genes are being discovered that relate to an individuals likelihood of developing cancer. The discovery of cancer-related genes has created a spark of interest in using this genetic information to create targeted treatments designed with each cancer patients genetic profile in mind, as well as the genetic composition of their specific type of cancer.
For example, the BRCA gene in the world of breast cancer research has become well-known in recent years. This is made even more evident by the fact that many well-known celebrities have opted to be tested for the gene. Scientists already know that the presence of this gene drastically increases the odds of a woman developing breast cancer, but now such information can be used to create highly targeted cancer treatments that will be more effective in the women who test positive for the presence of this gene.
Integrating Genomic Sequencing into Standard Healthcare
While isolated medical centers are already using genetic sequencing research to create more targeted cancer therapies, this isn’t standard protocol quite yet. However, in the not so distant future, it could become feasible for your family doctor to have access to all kinds of specific genetic information on you and your entire family, allowing for very specific medical treatments to be used in your care.
Pharmacogenomics and Cancer Research
Scientists and doctors have known for decades that the degree to which a patient responds favorably to a particular treatment depends in large part on that patient’s metabolic and genetic makeup. Pharmacogenomics is the study of how a person’s genetic makeup affects exactly how they respond to various drugs and treatments. If this information can be gathered, reported, and analyzed for a large part of the population, the implications of its use in creating targeted cancer treatments that have a higher success rate is astronomical. This can mean better treatment options that are designed to fight cancer with the least amount of side effects in the process.
Eric Lefkofsky Jumps into Genetic Cancer Research
When someone close to Eric Lefkofsky was initially diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago, he was shocked to find out how little technological information existed on such an important topic that affects so many people in a very personal way. Having worked with technology for over two decades prior to this, Lefkofsky understood the importance of data and how it can be used to provide targeted solutions to serious problems. He found himself wondering why this wasn’t being used in the area of health care and modern medicine when it has already proven so advantageous in other areas.
Over the course of the following year, Eric discovered that this detailed genetic data simply wasn’t available in the world of cancer research. At least, not yet.
What is Tempus?
Tempus is a technology based company, of which Lefkofsky is the co-founder and current CEO. Technology is at the very heart of the company since this is Eric’s area of expertise in the first place. The company also puts prime focus on genetic sequencing and how having a database the molecular and clinical information can shape future cancer treatments to be more effective than ever before.
Tempus is dedicated to the establishment of a large library of detailed clinical and molecular data within an easy to use and access database that can be incorporated into the mainstream medical practices of today. Tempus, therefore, wants to provide easy access to this type of information to better empower physicians, giving them the ability to make treatment decisions based on real-time access to data that will most impact the success of their patient’s treatment protocols. The ultimate goal of Tempus is for each and every patient to benefit from the treatment protocols of patients who came before him or her, providing physicians with life-saving information as we all continue to learn about the way genes influence cancer and its response to various treatments.
Eric Lefkofsky continues to pour his heart into this very personal area of study. While the field of health care and medical research was not one he ever anticipated getting involved in, he experiences a great deal of satisfaction in helping to shape the future of cancer treatment to improve the lives of cancer patients across the country.