While there is no doubt about the fact that doctors need data to successful treat cancer, it is the quality of data that they receive that is critically important. This includes a host of data that not just includes a patient’s DNA and RNA make up, but also information about the treatment received by the patient’s in the past and their response to it. So the need is to go beyond molecular data and encompass clinical data in including data about therapy and the outcome thereof.
There is need to delve into quality data in a manner that one can arrive at the most accurate assessments. Say a group of breast cancer patients taking Herceptin reports that it is effective on 40% of the people and ineffective on the rest. There has to be a reason behind that. Perhaps they have diabetes, or maybe they are on some other drugs that are interfering with the treatment. There has to be an unimpeded free flow of information among the researchers and clinicians for the treatment to be impactful.
This is where Eric Lefkofsky, the co-founder and CEO Tempus, a start-up tasked with creating databases to fine-tune cancer treatment plays a stellar role. The genesis of his interest in this field lies in his personal life, as his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and in getting her treated, he realized that oncologists didn’t really get the kind of data that they should have been.
Lefkofsky, who also has the co-founding of Groupon to his credit, plans to use the platform provided by Tempus to give data to clinicians like oncologists and neurologists for analysis. This kind of data is equally useful for CRISPR and personalized vaccine. The raison d ‘etre behind Tempus’s existence to use technology to add value to existing electronic records, refine it and then send it back to its source for reaffirmation.
The fact of the matter is that there is no dearth of patient data, but it does not exist in the refined and value-added fashion that Tempus is endeavoring to provide now and Eric’s lacrosse camp.