Centre for Cancer Biomarkers


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Reflections on ethics and social aspects in cancer research

11th October, CCBIO hosted a pre-conference event on the Ethical and Social Aspects of Cancer Research as part of the S.Net conference, of the Society for the Study of New and Emerging Technologies.

The different speakers at the S.Net pre-conference event October 11th.
Geir Olav Løken and Anne Blanchard. From top and left: Lars A. Akslen, Pankaj Sekhsaria (Indian Institute of Technology), Eirik Tranvåg, Kjetil Rommetveit, Anne Blanchard, Roger Strand, Alessandro Blasimme (Univ Zürich) and Karoline Huse.


The event, chaired by Roger Strand, convened seven speakers, both national and international, from disciplines ranging from medical ethics and philosophy, to social studies of science, priority setting in health care, and oncology research. This was an open event that drew a sizeable crowd from both inside and outside the hospital.

Debates about ethics and social apects of cancer research

The event opened with the encouraging words of Lars A. Akslen, on improving the quality of debates about the broader social and ethical dimensions of cancer research. The multidisciplinary panel approached these debates from seven unique but complimentary angles; stimulating lively discussion within the event. Alessandro Blasimme provided a historical perspective as a basis for reflections on a new ethics for precision medicine. Pankaj Sekhsaria went on to explore how cultural dimensions invade the clinic and laboratory in India, shaping medical practices for Retinoblastoma treatment. Erik Tranvåg finished the morning session investigating the news roles for age and predictive biomarkers in clinical decision-making.

After lunch, Caroline Engen shared her thoughts and reflections on cancer and the good life, exploring on what health and happiness mean in this context. Karoline Huse talked about the bold ‘last resort clinic’ initiative in the US, and some of the (false) promises it makes. Kjetil Rommetveit discussed new challenges to data privacy in the context of ‘Big Data’ and personalised medicine. Finally, Anne Blanchard wrapped up the day by weaving some common threads through the day’s talks, in particular how societal cancer debates are framed, not in terms of scientific limits, but rather in terms of political and economic limits.

Relevant links:

Programme for the Snet 2016 conference: https://www.uib.no/en/svt/92313/S-NET-Conference-2016

The S.Net: http://www.thesnet.net


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