Anne Kerr and Sarah Cunningham-Burley have just published ‘Embodied innovation and regulation of medical technoscience: transformations in cancer patienthood‘ in Law, Innovation and Technology.
Biomedical advances are transforming the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Patienthood is also transforming, as patients actively participate in research, innovation and regulation of novel technologies and therapies. In this paper we explore the new kinds of practices that patients are performing in their roles as research subject, co-researchers, donors, campaigners, representatives and consumers of novel stratified therapies. We outline their embodied contributions to clinical trials, biobanks and stratified therapies prior to, during and after having cancer. Exploring how patienthood involves donating more than tissue or data to these developments, we consider their emotional and identity work which informs and shapes the novel diagnostics and therapies being developed. We also consider how this kind of work is stratified according to the social and biological location of participants, and end by reflecting on the implications of our analysis for the organisation and regulation of biomedicine.