Accepted Paper:

"My genes are in mice": intimate encounters in co-clinical trials  


Gail Davies (University of Exeter)
Rich Gorman (University of Exeter)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the personal encounters and public dilemmas emerging as personalized medicine and patient partnerships create new intimate entanglements between patients, researchers and laboratory animals within co-clinical trials.

Paper long abstract:

The growth of personalised medicine and patient partnerships in biomedical research are remaking experiences of patienthood by opening up increasingly intimate interfaces with animal research. In research charting the changing nexus of relations between health, science, and welfare in laboratory animal research, we explore how patients are entering new, complex, and intimate relations with both researchers and the animals with which they work. The figure of 'the patient' has long been a powerful voice in public debates around animal research, mostly spoken for by organisations, and used to embody the need and funding of medical research. Drawing on interviews and media, which express perspectives from researchers and patients involved in co-clinical trials in cancer research, we explore how these increasingly intimate encounters may both affect patient experiences and reconfigure public debate. A public debate around balancing harms to animals and benefits to patients becomes resituated within the body of the patient; where disease outcomes are affected by the production and trajectory of tumours in personalised mice. This intimacy presents a complex corporeal attachment for patients and animals undergoing similar experiences, whilst opening up questions about public views on animal research with individualised benefits.

Panel A15
Intimate entanglements in science and technology