Judging Quality and Coordination in Biomarker Diagnostic Development

Abstract

What makes a high-quality biomarker experiment? The success of personalized medicine hinges on the answer to this question. In this paper, I argue that judgment about the quality of biomarker experiments is mediated by the problem of theoretical underdetermination. That is, the network of biological and pathophysiological theories motivating a biomarker experiment is sufficiently complicated that it often frustrates valid interpretation of the experimental results. Drawing on a case-study in biomarker diagnostic development from neurooncology, I argue that this problem of underdetermination can be overcome with greater coordination across the biomarker research trajectory. I then sketch an account for how coordination across a research trajectory can be evaluated. I ultimate conclude that what makes a high-quality biomarker experiment must be judged by the epistemic contribution it makes to this coordinated research effort.

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Spencer Hey
Harvard University

References found in this work

Evidence: Philosophy of Science Meets Medicine.John Worrall - 2010 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16 (2):356-362.
The Duhem Thesis.Roger Ariew - 1984 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (4):313-325.
Current Epistemological Problems in Evidence Based Medicine.R. E. Ashcroft - 2004 - Journal of Medical Ethics 30 (2):131-135.

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