About this Research Topic
Personalized/precision approaches to medicine demand substantive, normative work that consists in reforming social contracts in healthcare, and in ensuring a consistent commitment to change from both institutional actors and citizens. The implementation of innovations labelled as personalized health and precision medicine is also contingent on the reconfiguration of professional practices: Without the reshuffling of expert collaborations and institutional territories, the challenges to enacting these models of healthcare may prove insurmountable. Finally, any potential benefit of personalized health and precision medicine heavily depends on a heterogeneous set of technoscientific practices: Genomic and multi-omic technologies, data infrastructures, and AI-based tools are far from being sedimented technical repertoires of post-genomic and big data medicine; rather, they are a variegated patchwork of technoscientific experimentations needing, in most cases, validation and standardization.
Social science scholarship on personalized health and precision medicine increasingly emphasizes the need to scrutinize these models of medicine and public health as they get implemented into practice: How do precision medicine and personalized health get enacted in a specific setting? And how do they emerge from the alignment of their different normative, practical, and technoscientific dimensions?
The editors of this Research Topic welcome studies of these concrete processes. The aim is to offer an analysis of different attempts to produce and/or stabilize innovations labelled as personalized health and precision medicine. These may include, but are not limited to:
1) The fine-tuning and validation of novel technologies of care and prevention, such as complex assemblages of data and health infrastructures
2) Practices of therapeutic innovation which blur the boundaries between research and care or between communities of experts
3) The co-production of national health initiatives, strategic research programs, and experimental biomedical configurations in policy and institutional settings
The Research Topic wishes to highlight the epistemic, organizational, regulatory, and political heterogeneity of these practices, as well as the diversity of social actors (e.g. patients, healthcare professionals, and policy-makers) that they involve. Its goal is to thus capture the diversity of the negotiations, misfits, and alignments that personalized health and precision medicine engender in a situated context. To this end, the editors invite sociological, anthropological, historical, philosophical, and political studies of how personalized health and precision medicine are being furthered in any practical setting and/or field (e.g., epidemiology, public health, biomedical and clinical sciences, and environmental health sciences).
We are particularly interested in contributions that stress the singularity of these processes - specific objects and contexts of research are likely defined by unique modalities of alignment of the normative, practical, and technoscientific dimensions of biomedical innovation - but contributions discussing or comparing institutional and/or national settings are also welcome - most organizations operate in a global context of research, making it paramount to strike a balance between the passive repetition of existing innovation and the demands/needs of local organizations. Finally, we believe that the sociotechnical challenges and opportunities raised by personalized health and precision medicine are part and parcel of the debates internal to the biomedical sciences. Consequently, we also encourage cross-cutting, interdisciplinary, and collaborative contributions reflecting on the challenges of bringing personalized health and precision medicine closer to healthcare practice.
Keywords: social studies of biomedicine, personalized health, precision medicine, healthcare practice
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.