Eric Lefkofsky

Eric Lefkofsky

The National Cancer Institue (NCI) has released new findings from its ongoing Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program, shedding further light on a historically under-observed population – cancer survivors who are diagnosed with a new or recurring cancer. In the recently released NCI data, 740,990 incidences of newly diagnosed cancer in American patients were analyzed and the findings show that, of this number, about 25% of people at or above 65 and approximately 11% of younger adults had had a prior bout with cancer earlier in their life.

This substantial population of people with a history of cancer becoming newly diagnosed, in most cases in a new site, holds much relevance to the continuing efforts to battle the disease. Typically, patients with a prior incidence of cancer are barred from many clinical trials and are consequently underrepresented in the reams of new data being produced about cancer patients in research and observational studies.

The new findings are important in the effort to improve the treatment and survivorship needs of this population, as well as improving generalizability from studies by ceasing to prohibit this group from clinical studies. In the effort to battle cancer and find a cure, understanding cancer outcomes and patient experiences in as comprehensive a breadth as possible are crucial.

In the all-out race currently underway to find a cure for cancer, providing for targeted patient care that takes into account the entire experience of the patient and their loved ones is finding champions in many sectors and individuals, including in Chicago-area tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Eric Lefkofsky.

Lefkosky, a serial tech entrepreneur and philanthropist with many successful businesses and ventures under his belt, in 2016 co-founded a cutting-edge healthcare technology startup called Tempus.

With the success of human genome mapping progress accelerating to the point where, while once it cost about $100 million to map a single person’s genome it now costs around $5,000, Tempus is seeking to productively combine this exponentially increasing amount of molecular level cancer data with the advances in digital tools that can increasingly independently analyze and learn from this data. Researchers can then use such insights to better understand each individual cancer patient’s needs and offer treating physicians a method for delivering pinpoint, laser-focused therapies.