Establishing a Connection Between Heredity and Environmental Factors in Lung Cancer Development

Genetic factors, or inherited characteristics, are known to affect a person’s predisposition to lung cancer as much as environmental factors, most notably smoking. However, the interaction between one’s genetic composition and whether he or she smokes is in itself related to the development of this dreaded disease.

This interaction was discovered in a study conducted by a research team at Dartmouth College. The findings of the study showed that three variations in human DNA serve as the primary instigators in increasing a person’s susceptibility to lung cancer. These characteristics have been referred to as “biomarkers,” which can prove vital when it comes to dealing with cancer in certain patients. The data used in the study was provided by the OncoArray Consortium research network but is similar to the research currently being conducted by the technology firm Tempus.

Based on the study, the risk of developing lung cancer can be categorized to determine who will develop the disease and, in the event this occurs, of establishing treatment options. The one shortcoming of the study is that is was restricted to Caucasians and therefore may not extend to other ethnic groups with different genetic histories. According to Yafang Li, who headed the study, this issue could reduce its effectiveness. He added that the study could be expanded as more data becomes available. The findings of his team have been published in Carcinogenesis, a journal that deals with cancer issues.

The collection and study of molecular data is also the objective of Tempus. Based in Chicago, the firm was founded in 2016 by Eric Lefkofsky and a fellow entrepreneur. Lefkofsky was motivated to establish the firm through his personal commitment to help others diagnosed with cancer. In its quest to improve the diagnosis and treatment of malignant diseases, Tempus has collaborated with such medical facilities as the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Michigan.

Born 47 years ago in Detroit, Lefkofsky launched his business career as a carpet salesman at the University of Michigan, which also happened to be his alma mater. He and a friend would later purchase an apparel company in Madison, Wis. Lefkofsky would over a period of years help establish a number of businesses, including InnerWorkings, a marketing firm, and the financial company Lightbank.

Outside his business activities, Lefkofsky serves on the board of directors at Children’s Memorial Hospital, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry. He also teaches university-level classes in the fields of business and entrepreneurship.

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