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Accepted Paper:

Biopharmaceutical transformations: new moral dilemmas around advanced therapy medicinal products  
Isabel Briz Hernandez (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Short abstract:

Drawing from empirical data collected during fieldwork on oncology trials with immunotherapy, in this paper I will discuss the conflicting moral dilemmas around Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products and present future lines of research on this topic.

Long abstract:

One of the major transformations of the pharmaceutical industry in recent years has been a shift towards personalized living drugs, also called biologics, or biopharmaceuticals, which are medicines based on biological substances and/or biological process. At the front of this paradigm shift stand Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) -medicines based on cells, genes and tissue-, being Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy one the first and most frequent treatment to be adopted by healthcare systems worldwide.

Hailed as a breakthrough in cancer research and treatment, CAR T-cell therapy aims to enhance the potential of the immune system to cure cancer by genetically engineering the patient´s T-cells to target the specific antigen of the patient´s cancer cells. In contrast to conventional oncology treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy this therapy is portrayed to be more efficient and less harmful to the patient. However, its implementation engenders challenges and changes in scientific and biomedical practices, knowledge and skills, which in turn transforms the lived experience of patients and their caregivers. Beyond the organisational and epistemic changes, in this paper I will focus on the new moral challenges that face scientists, healthcare professionals, patients and their caregivers when producing, delivering or receiving CAR T-cell therapy. I will present several ethnographic vignettes collected during fieldwork on oncology trials with this treatment to illustrate the conflicting moral dilemmas that arise around CAR T-cell therapy. Then, I will present current work in progress that aims to develop future lines of research on the topic.

Traditional Open Panel P129
Transforming pharmaceutical innovation
  Session 1 Wednesday 17 July, 2024, -