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Accepted Paper:

Cancer tumours as 'bio-subjects': the social relations of clinical samples in the age of genomic medicine  
Anne Kerr (University of Glasgow) Tineke Broer (University of Edinburgh) Emily Ross (University of Edinburgh) Sarah Cunningham-Burley (University of Edinburgh)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how & when cancerous tumours might be considered to be ‘bio-subjects’ in the era of genomics and the drive towards precision medicine.

Paper long abstract:

Cancerous tumours, are ideal candidates for considering the complexities of subjectivity in contemporary bioscience, given that they are a dynamic product of their host's genomes, wider environment, ife strategies, and biomedical interventions, as well as a source of considerable value for research and innovation. Drawing on preliminary sociological research on tumour samples collected and analysed as part of genomic cancer studies and trials, we will look at how fresh, frozen and preserved tumours produce meanings and social relations throughout their 'lives'. Focusing on how biological materials and data from cancer tumours are extracted, generated, shared and stored, and for which purposes and with what effects, we will look at the implications of these processes for caring practices, the distribution of responsibilities in the clinic and beyond and the meanings attached to cancerous tissue. We will end by considering if and how these processes are related to transforming patient and professional relationships and identities and what this means for our understanding of bio-subjectivity in contemporary biomedical science and Science and Technology Studies.

Panel T089
  Session 1 Saturday 3 September, 2016, -