Past-futures in experimental care: breast cancer and HIV medicine

Day, Sophie E.; Viney, William; Bruton, Jane and Ward, Helen. 2021. Past-futures in experimental care: breast cancer and HIV medicine. New Genetics and Society, 40(4), pp. 449-472. ISSN 1463-6778 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Cambrosio et al. (2018. “Extending Experimentation: Oncology’s Fading Boundary Between Research and Care.” New Genetics and Society 37 (3): 207–226) argue that “experimental care” in contemporary oncology involves the rapid merging of patient research and care, and invite further study into developments across other health conditions. We present a 2018–2019 study of experimental breast cancer care in an urban clinical setting in the light of two other studies in the same hospital group: in the same cancer service (2013–14) and, prompted by these earlier findings, an interview study in HIV services (2014–15). We found that patients and staff anticipated better outcomes by treating sub-types of breast cancer but they also hoped for a better one-size-fits-all approach, akin to the antiretroviral treatments introduced for HIV and explored in our interview study. We conclude that the promise of targeted treatment for sub-types of disease – variously described as experimental care, personalised, precision, stratified and sub-group medicine – is accompanied by hopes for a single, standard, effective approach.

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Experimental, care, medicine, breast cancer, HIV

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24 November 2020Accepted
6 January 2021Published Online

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Date Deposited:

15 Jan 2021 12:00

Last Modified:

17 Dec 2021 11:05

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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