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A Technology to produce Risk and Disease: a comparative analysis of genetic testing for breast cancer

ESRC Festival of Social Science|  

Dr Shobita Parthasarathy
University of California, Los Angeles
Email: shobita@ucla.edu|

Date: 21 June 2005
Time
: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Venue
: CARR Seminar Room, H615

This seminar was part of the ESRC's Social Science Week 2005

Abstract

The recent development of testing technologies that generate information about genetic susceptibility to diseases has led to considerable concern about the possible creation of a new category of at-risk individuals who will consequently be medically, socially, and economically disadvantaged. But what role does national context play in the way these risks are defined and for the new categories of at-risk individuals that might emerge? Through comparative case study of the development of genetic testing for breast cancer in the United States and Britain, I will demonstrate that political cultures, institutional structures, and regulatory frameworks played a very important role in the development of the new testing technology, which has important, nationally-specific consequences for the way at-risk individuals were defined and the types of management and therapeutic options that were available to them.

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