Oncologists' perceptions of the ethical, legal and social implications of genetic testing and microfluidic lab-on-chip technology
The objectives of this study are twofold: firstly, to give an account of the current methods of knowledge production, and secondly to contribute a consultation piece on oncologists’ perceptions of non-technical issues regarding the ethical, legal and social implications of microfluidic lab-on-chip technology (MF LOC). Two connected theses statements are put forth. First, understanding the transformations of knowledge production will allow for a more socially and ethically informed mode of governance to emerge. Second, it is important to consider who might use the technology and how it might impact institutions and individuals. Interviews were conducted with 31 Canadian oncologists during August 2004 to February 2005. Qualitative analysis was used to examine the oncologists’ responses. It was found that of the different types of knowledge production that were reviewed (Mode-1, Mode-2, Triple Helix, and Post-normal science) the Triple Helix thesis was most supported. However, an integration of characteristics of Mode-2 with the Triple Helix thesis best accounts for the current description of knowledge production. The principles inherent in Post-Normal Science provide a starting point for developing an approach for building capacity for an independent institution that examines the ethical, legal and social concerns regarding transformative technologies. In relation to the second thesis, the results indicate that MF LOC devices have great potential to transform institutional practices and affect individual lives. And it is important to understand that the oncologists studied constructed their understanding of MF LOC technology within a scientific and biomedical repertoire consequently, future research should assess the perceptions and concerns of other groups of people that are different from the scientific and biomedical repertoire.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorMehta, Michael D.
Copyright DateMay 2006