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Tempus, University of Chicago partner on breast cancer project

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tempus, a technology company focused on helping doctors personalize cancer treatment by collecting, sorting and analyzing clinical and molecular data, has formed a collaboration with cancer experts at the University of Chicago Medicine to accelerate the pace of discovery and improve and personalize treatment for breast cancer patients.

Tempus will provide molecular sequencing and analysis for patients being treated for breast cancer at the University of Chicago. Using machine learning and advanced bioinformatics, Tempus will analyze data from about 1,000 breast cancer patients and generate additional genomic data for a subset of those patients. The goal is to help the University of Chicago’s breast cancer specialist and research teams uncover novel patterns that can predict how patients will respond to treatment. Over time, this should lead to better patient outcomes.

“The University of Chicago Medicine is one of the country’s leading academic medical centers with a world-renowned breast cancer program,” said Eric Lefkofsky, co-founder and CEO of Tempus. “We are thrilled to partner with UCM in its efforts to advance treatment for patients battling this disease.”

Tempus will work directly with Olufunmilayo (Funmi) Olopade, M.D., professor of medicine and human genetics and dean for global health at the University of Chicago. Dr. Olopade is a nationally renowned physician who specializes in cancer-risk assessment and individualized treatment for the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.

“Although breast cancer is among the most common cancers, there is relatively little accessible data on the millions of patients who have battled the disease. This forces too many physicians to make treatment decisions without the benefit of highly specific genetic information that could help them make better informed and precisely targeted decisions,” said Dr. Olopade. “We are excited to partner with Tempus on this initiative and eager to support its efforts to build the largest clinically annotated molecular data set in breast cancer. This could improve clinical care and lead to novel research opportunities.”

Although roughly a quarter of a million people are diagnosed each year with breast cancer in the U.S., the largest publicly available dataset, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), includes just over 1,000 breast cancer patients who have been sequenced and annotated with critical clinical information, including treatment and outcomes data. The complexity of breast cancer genetics makes it difficult to detect therapeutically relevant patterns based on such a small data set.

The UCM-Tempus collaboration—working with the University of Chicago-based Genomic Data Commons, a next-generation platform that enables unprecedented data access, analysis and sharing for cancer research—is designed to expand and enhance the genetic resources available to breast cancer specialists and enable more precise decisions leading to highly personalized patient care.

The University of Chicago is home to one of only 47 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S. designated by the National Cancer Institute—and one of only two in Illinois.

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