Drawing on insights from work in medical history and sociology, this book analyzes changing meanings of personalized medicine over time, from the rise of biomedicine in the twentieth century, to the emergence of pharmacogenomics and personal genomics in the 1990s and 2000s. In the past when doctors championed personalization they did so to emphasize that patients had unique biographies and social experiences in the name of caring for their patients as individuals. However, since the middle of the twentieth century, geneticists have successfully promoted the belief that genes are implicated in why some people develop diseases and why some have adverse reactions to drugs when others do not. In doing so, they claim to offer a new way of personalizing the prediction, prevention and treatment of disease. As this book shows, the genomic reimagining of personalized medicine centres on new forms of capitalization and consumption of genetic information. While genomics promises the ultimate individualization of medicine, the author argues that personalized medicine exists in the imaginative gap between the problems and limits of current scientific practices and future prospects to individualize medical interventions. A rigorous, critical examination of the promises of genomics to transform the economics and delivery of medicine, Genomics and the Reimagining of Personalized Medicine examines the consequences of the shift towards personalization for the way we think about and act on health and disease in society. As such, it will be of interest to scholars and students of the sociology of medicine and health, science and technology studies, and health policy.
Richard Tutton is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Lancaster University, UK, and co-editor of Genetic Databases: Socio-Ethical Issues in the Collection and Use of DNA.