The evolution of Western medicine since World War II may be described as a realignment of biology and medicine that has in turn been accompanied by the emergence of a new type of objectivity—regulatory objectivity—based on the systematic recourse to the collective production of evidence. Collaborative forms of work, such as extended networks, expert groups, and consortia, increasingly frame the structure of biomedical activities. This collective turn is especially visible in two domains: genomics—where the production of knowledge relies not only on very large-scale collaborative projects, such as the Human Genome Project, but also on a motley collection of cooperative groups specializing in a given pathology or specific genes—and, more traditionally, clinical trials, in particular in the field of oncology, where new protocols and therapies emerge from large-scale, multicenter clinical trials performed by long-established cooperative groups. In this talk Cambrosio will focus on a new kind of large collaborative clinical trial that emerges at the intersection of these two domains. These kinds of clinical trials raise issues about the redefinition of national and international collaborative links between clinicians and researchers from different disciplines and between public research organizations and biotechnology start-ups.
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