Advertisement

Social Theory & Health

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 475–492 | Cite as

Rethinking therapeutic strategies in cancer: Wars, fields, anomalies and monsters

  • Simon StewartEmail author
  • Cyril Rauch
Original Article

Abstract

This article argues that the excessive focus on cancer as an insidious living defect that needs to be destroyed has obscured the fact that cancer develops inside human beings. Therefore, in order to contribute to debates about new cancer therapies, we argue that it is important to gain a broader understanding of what cancer is and how it might be otherwise. First, in order to reframe the debate, we utilize Pierre Bourdieu’s field analysis in order to gain a stronger understanding of the structure of the (sub)field of cancer research. In doing so, we are able to see that those in a dominant position in the field, with high levels of scientific capital at their disposal, are in the strongest position to determine the type of research that is carried out and, more significantly, how cancer is perceived. Field analysis enables us to gain a greater understanding of the complex interplay between the field of science (and, more specifically, the subfield of cancer research) and broader sources of power. Second, we draw attention to new possible ways of understanding cancer in its evolutionary context. One of the problems facing cancer research is the narrow time frame within which cancer is perceived: the lives of cancer cells are considered from the moment the cells initially change. In contrast, the approach put forward here requires a different way of thinking: we take a longer view and consider cancer as a living entity, with cancer perceived as anomalous rather than abnormal. Third, we theorize the possibility of therapeutic strategies that might involve the redirection (rather than the eradication) of cancer cells. This approach also necessitates new ways of perceiving cancer.

Keywords

cancer field analysis anomalies monsters aesthetics 

References

  1. Aiello, N. and Stanger, B. (2016) Echoes of the embryo: Using the developmental biology toolkit to study cancer. Disease Models & Mechanisms 9(2): 105–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Society of Clinical Oncology Policy Statement Update: Genetic Testing for Cancer Susceptibility. (2003) Journal of Clinical Oncology 21(12): 2397–2406.Google Scholar
  3. Bourdieu, P. (1975) The specificity of the scientific field and the social conditions of the progress of reason. Social Science Information 14(6): 19–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bourdieu, P. (1986[1983]) The forms of capital. In: J.G. Richardson (ed.) Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education. New York: Greenwood Press, pp. 241–258.Google Scholar
  6. Bourdieu, P. (1993a) Sociology in Question. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Bourdieu, P. (1993b) The Field of Cultural Production. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bourdieu, P. (1996) The Rules of Art. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bourdieu, P. (1998) On Television. New York: New Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bourdieu, P. (2000) Pascalian Meditations. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bourdieu, P. (2003) Firing Back. New York: New Press.Google Scholar
  12. Bourdieu, P. (2004) Science of Science and Reflexivity. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  13. Bourdieu, P. and Wacquant, L. (1992) An invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. Darwin, C. (2016[1887]) The Autobiography of Charles Darwin. [online] Darwin-online.org.uk, http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?viewtype=text&itemID=F1497&pageseq=1, accessed 18 March 2016.
  15. De La Fuente, E. (2007) On the promise of a sociological aesthetics: From Georg Simmel to Michel Maffesoli. Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory 8(2): 91–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. De Milito, A., Lucia Marino, M. and Fais, S. (2012) A rationale for the use of proton pump inhibitors as antineoplastic agents. CPD 18(10): 1395–1406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Derrida, J. and Weber, E. (1995) Points … Interviews, 1974–1994.. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Evans, M. and Kaufman, M. (1981) Establishment in culture of pluripotential cells from mouse embryos. Nature 292(5819): 154–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fais, S., Venturi, G. and Gatenby, R. (2014) Erratum to: Microenvironmental acidosis in carcinogenesis and metastases: New strategies in prevention and therapy. Cancer Metastasis Review 34(1): 165–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Featherstone, M. (2007) Consumer Culture and Postmodernism. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  21. Foucault, M. (1966) Les mots et les choses. Paris, France: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  22. Frickel, S., Gibbon, S., Howard, J., Kempner, J., Ottinger, G. and Hess, D. (2009) Undone science: Charting social movement and civil society challenges to research agenda setting. Science, Technology & Human Values 35(4): 444–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gatenby, R. (2009) A change of strategy in the war on cancer. Nature 459(7246): 508–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gilbert, G. and Mulkay, M. (1984) Opening Pandora’s Box. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Gray, C. (2007) Commodification and instrumentality in cultural policy. International Journal of Cultural Policy 13(2): 203–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Haeno, H. and Michor, F. (2010) The evolution of tumor metastases during clonal expansion. Journal of Theoretical Biology 263(1): 30–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hanahan, D. and Weinberg, R. (2011) Hallmarks of cancer: The next generation. Cell 144(5): 646–674.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Harguindey, S. et al (2013) Cariporide and other new and powerful NHE1 inhibitors as potentially selective anticancer drugs – An integral molecular/biochemical/metabolic/clinical approach after one hundred years of cancer research. Journal of Translational Medicine 11(1): 282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Harrington, A. (2004) Art and Social Theory. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  30. Harvey, D. (2005) A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Harvey, D. (2010) The Enigma of Capital. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Henriksen, N., Tjornhoj-Thomsen, T. and Hansen, H. (2011) Illness, everyday life and narrative montage: The visual aesthetics of cancer in Sara bro’s diary. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine 15(3): 277–297.Google Scholar
  33. Hickey, D. (2009) The Invisible Dragon. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hicks, M. (2006) BMC Family Practice 7(1): 39.Google Scholar
  35. Highmore, B. (2004) Homework: Routine, social aesthetics and the ambiguity of everyday life. Cultural Studies 18(2–3): 306–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hogan, B. (1996) Bone morphogenetic proteins in development. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 6(4): 432–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Huang, S. (2014) The war on cancer: Lessons from the war on terror. Frontiers in Oncology 4(293): 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Julian-Reynier, C. (2011) Genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer: Importance of test results. Medicine Sciences 27(6–7): 657–661.Google Scholar
  39. Kantarjian, H., Steensma, D., Rius Sanjuan, J., Elshaug, A. and Light, D. (2014) High cancer drug prices in the United States: Reasons and proposed solutions. Journal of Oncology Practice 10(4): e208–e211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kim, C. (2014) Disease modeling and cell based therapy with iPSC: Future therapeutic option with fast and safe application. Blood Res 49(1): 7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kuhn, T. (2012[1962]) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Latour, B. and Woolgar, S. (1979) Laboratory Life. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  43. Levin, M. (2012) Morphogenetic fields in embryogenesis, regeneration, and cancer: Non-local control of complex patterning. Biosystems 109(3): 243–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lindh, A. (2014) Public opinion against markets? Attitudes towards market distribution of social services – A comparison of 17 countries. Social Policy & Administration 49(7): 887–910.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Merton, R. (1957) Priorities in scientific discovery: A chapter in the sociology of science. American Sociological Review 22(6): 635–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mintz, B. and Illmensee, K. (1975) Normal genetically mosaic mice produced from malignant teratocarcinoma cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 72(9): 3585–3589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. National Audit Office. (2015) Investigation into the Cancer Drugs Fund. London: Department of Health and NHS England.Google Scholar
  48. Ohnuki, M. and Takahashi, K. (2015) Present and future challenges of induced pluripotent stem cells. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 370(1680): 20140367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Oronsky, B. et al (2015) The war on cancer: A military perspective. Frontiers in Oncology 4(387): 1–5.Google Scholar
  50. Pjevic, M., Patarica-Huber, E., Radovanovic, D. and Vickovic, S. (2004) Neuropathic pain due to malignancy: Mechanisms, clinical manifestations and therapy. Med. Pregl 57(1–2): 33–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Radley, A. (1999) The aesthetics of illness: Narrative, horror and the sublime. Social Health & Illness 21(6): 778–796.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Radley, A. (2002) Portrayals of suffering: On looking away, looking at, and the comprehension of illness experience. Body & Society 8(3): 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Radley, A. and Bell, S. (2011) Another way of knowing: Art, disease and illness experience. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine 15(3): 219–222.Google Scholar
  54. Schulze, A. and Harris, A. (2012) How cancer metabolism is tuned for proliferation and vulnerable to disruption. Nature 491(7424): 364–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Shindell, S. (1963) Probability. JAMA 186(7): 637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sonnenschein, C. and Soto, A. (1999) The Society of Cells. Oxford: Bios Scientific Publishers.Google Scholar
  57. Spike, B., Engle, D., Lin, J., Cheung, S., La, J. and Wahl, G. (2012) A mammary stem cell population identified and characterized in late embryogenesis reveals similarities to human breast cancer. Cell Stem Cell 10(2): 183–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Spugnini, E. et al (2011) Lansoprazole as a rescue agent in chemoresistant tumors: A phase I/II study in companion animals with spontaneously occurring tumors. Journal of Translational Medicine 9(1): 221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Spugnini, E. et al (2014) High dose lansoprazole combined with metronomic chemotherapy: A phase I/II study in companion animals with spontaneously occurring tumors. Journal of Translational Medicine 12(1): 225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Spugnini, E. et al (2015) Proton channels and exchangers in cancer. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Biomembranes 1848(10): 2715–2726.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Stewart, S. (2013) Evaluating Culture: Sociology, Aesthetics and Policy. Sociological Research Online 18(1).Google Scholar
  62. Stewart, S. (2014) A Sociology of Culture, Taste and Value. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  63. Swartz, D. (1997) Culture & Power. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  64. Takahashi, K. and Yamanaka, S. (2006) Induction of pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryonic and adult fibroblast cultures by defined factors. Cell 126(4): 663–676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Tort, P. (1998) L’ordre et les monstres. Paris: Syllepse.Google Scholar
  66. Tseng, J., Chen, H. and Wu, K. (2015) A twist tale of cancer metastasis and tutor angiogenesis. Histology and Histopathology 30(11): 1283–1294.Google Scholar
  67. Turing, A.M. (1990[1953]) The chemical basis of morphogenesis. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 52: 153–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Walsh, M. et al (2015) Proton pump inhibitors for the treatment of cancer in companion animals. J Exp Clin Cancer Res 34(1): 93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Wolff, J. (2008) The Aesthetics of Uncertainty. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Zhang, J. et al (2012) Effect of bone morphogenetic protein-2 on proliferation and apoptosis of gastric cancer cells. International Journal of Medical Sciences 9(2): 184–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Portsmouth, School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies, MilldamPortsmouthUK
  2. 2.University of Nottingham, School of Veterinary Science and Medicine, Sutton Bonington Campus, Sutton BoningtonNottingham, LeicestershireUK

Personalised recommendations