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Yafang Li, PhD. led a Dartmouth research team in a study on the role gene-smoking interactions play in the etiology of lung cancer. The study which was published in Carcinogenesis identified three new lung cancer genetic biomarkers. The study revealed three SNP’s(single nucleotide polymorphisms) in DNA that form the foundation of our susceptibility to developing cancer. Two of the SNP’s were for the risk of non-small cell lung cancer, and the other was for the risk of squamous cell lung cancer.

These three SNP’s the study identified provided potential candidate biomarkers for lung cancer risk screening and intervention. The team’s findings were limited to the smoking behavior and non-small cell lung cancer risk in the Caucasian population. Because of this restriction, the results are not applicable to other ethnicities, but suggest a breakthrough in the treatment of lung cancer is on the horizon.

The breakthrough that these results make in cancer research is good news for all who long for a cure. Eric Lefkofsky like so many others believes that a cure for cancer can be found if the way we diagnose and treat the disease change. Lefkofsky has donated millions of dollars towards cancer research. In 2006 he and his wife established the Lefkofsky Family Foundation. This foundation is a private charitable foundation that uses high-impact initiatives to enhance the lives close to their community in Chicago. The foundation provides funding for education, healthcare, medical research, and arts and culture.

Mr. Lefkofsky is an American entrepreneur who wears many hats. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he is an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago; he is the co-founder and CEO of TEMPUS; the co-founder of Echo Global Logistics; and he is involved on a corporate level with Inner Workings, Mediacean, and Uptake.. It is his work with Tempus, however, that will benefit most from the findings of Dr. Li’s study.

Tempus is a health tech company that’s “building the infrastructure to modernize cancer treatment.” Tempus collects and analyzes genomic data to uncover ways that will enable physicians to provide more precise and personalized treatments for their patients. The data driven treatment decisions used by Tempus analyzes “a patient’s genetic code in the context of molecular therapies” seems a good fit for the Dartmouth’s study groups findings. Tempus believes that their efforts will propel the next advancement in healthcare. We all stand on the shoulders of men like Lefkofsky as we wait for it.

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