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Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO

book release

First CCBIO book release

The ethics, economics and ELSA research groups of CCBIO are coordinating their research activities ever more. In April they published their first joint book volume "Cancer Biomarkers: Ethics, Economics and Society".

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The book cover of "Cancer Biomarkers: Ethics, Economics and Society"
Photo:
Lars A. Akslen

Shared Platform for Ethics, Economics and ELSA groups

A shared platform for CCBIO´s research in ethics, economics and ELSA topics has recently been established. A core element in the transformation of cancer medicine into precision medicine is that individuals rather than groups become the unit of analysis. By joining forces they will be able to understand better the implications and preconditions of this transformation in terms of ethical considerations, market mechanisms, scientific development and the political economy of cancer research.

The promise of cancer biomarkers

Cancer care is undergoing a shift from a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach to more personalised medicine. One way of personalising cancer treatments is through biomarkers: molecules or biochemical changes found in the patient’s tissues and body fluids.

This book reflects upon the promise of cancer biomarkers and asks questions such as: How may the complexity of cancer biology impede the robustness of biomarkers in the clinic? How should one draw the line between the various sub-groups of patients for personalised treatment? How can one evaluate the cost-effectiveness and fairness of personalised cancer treatments? By bringing together authors from the fields of science and technology studies, medical ethics and philosophy, health economics and oncology, the book aims to give a critical yet accessible overview of some of the key social, ethical and economic issues that surround cancer biomarkers.

Stimulating our reflections

CCBIO Director Lars A. Akslen comments about the book:
"In this book, important topics surrounding the medical part of biomarker research are presented and discussed. Key questions are asked and reflected upon: What is a good (enough) biomarker ? How should we prioritize in modern cancer treatment? Can biomarkers make a real difference? How can biomarkers change and improve the cost structure when using very expensive drugs and when only a few patients respond to the treatment? How can we deal with big data profiles for individual patients  -  such as patterns of genetic alterations or functional protein signatures ?

Hopefully, these thoughtful chapters can stimulate our reflections on how we design and perform biomarker research.  On top of basic and clinical projects, we have realized that bringing in these additional topics have intensified our reflection on own activities. This goes to the core of the RRI-concept, i.e. to perform responsible research and innovation."

Bruce Zetter, Charles Nowiszewski Professor of Cancer Biology in the Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, comments: 
"The book should be required reading for oncologists, medical students, graduate students and especially for those who make policy decisions regarding the use and reimbursement of cancer biomarkers."

Our congratulations to the editors Roger Strand and Anne Blanchard!