Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

Evidence standards in precision medicine

13 December 2023  |  15:00  |  Seminari de Filosofia UB


Precision medicine is motivated by the insight that patients and their problems show great variability and ideally should be treated in way that accounts for the individual’s biology and context. This raises intriguing questions about of what constitutes evidence and disease, if the scope of preclinical models and disease categories narrows down to specific patients (N=1). I explore these questions through an analysis of the use of organoid models for patient-specific drug screening in precision oncology. Organoids are 3D cell cultures derived from stem cells or dissociated primary tissue (e.g., a tumor). These models are hoped to bridge the gap between in vitro models and specific in vivo targets, allowing for a “one-patient paradigm” in medicine. Through a qualitative content analysis and ethnographic field work, I unpack what the “vision of precision” entails in organoid research. Moreover, I show how epistemic uncertainties about translational inferences from bench to bedside relate to ontological uncertainties about how fine-grained disease categories should be understood.