Personalized Medicine in Practice: Postgenomics from Multiplicity to Immutability

Nadav Even Chorev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article explores the ways in which predictive information technologies are used in the field of personalized medicine and the relations between this use and how patients and disease are perceived. This is examined in a qualitative case study of a personalized cancer clinical trial, where oncologists made clinical decisions for each patient based on drug matchings and efficacy predictions produced by bioinformatic technologies and algorithms. I focus on personalized practice itself, as a postgenomic phenomenon, rather than on epistemic, ethical and institutional critiques. Personalized medicine aims to process molecular, clinical, environmental and social data into individually tailored decisions. In this case, however, the engagement of clinicians with data and digital artefacts that processed multiple information sources resulted in treatment choices that were paradoxically both immutable and uncertain. In contrast to the situatedness of the body in postgenomics, this practice subverted the personalized medical approach while decontextualizing both cancer and patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBody and Society
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • cancer
  • digital artefacts
  • immutability
  • multiplicity
  • personalized medicine
  • postgenomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Cultural Studies

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