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Dr. Alberto Cambrosio

Dr. Cambrosion PhotoDepartmental Chair

Office: 3647 Peel St., Room 202
Phone: 398-4981
Email: alberto [dot] cambrosio [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Biography

(PhD, University of Montreal, 1984).Professor, at McGill University since 1990. Professor Cambrosio's area of expertise lies at the crossroads of medical sociology and the sociology of science and technology. His work focuses on the “material culture” of biomedical practices, and in particular on the study of the application of modern biological techniques to the diagnosis and the therapy of cancer, the comparative (North-America - Europe) development of cancer clinical trials, and the role of visual imagery in the development of immunology. He is especially concerned, in how biomedicine has come to grips with the multiple and ubiquitous cultural, social and practical differences and variations with which it is increasingly confronted. More in particular, he is interested in the creation of institutions and instruments to manage these differences and generate consensus, however partial or temporary in nature, and thus with the social and historical dynamics of biomedical regulation, objectification and standardization.


Professor Cambrosio’s most recent project (supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fonds Québécois de Recherchesur la Société et la Culture and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) examines ‘genomics in action’, i.e., as applied to concrete instances of medical work, by investigating public, academic and commercial programs that capitalize on the therapeutic insights offered by the new molecular genetics of cancer.His most recent book (Cancer on Trial: Oncology as a New Style of Practice, in press, co-authored with Peter Keating) argues that, contrary to common assumptions, clinical trials do not boil down to mere “technology” or a few methodological principles: rather, they are an institution that corresponds to a profound transformation of biomedical activities. They rise to the level of a “new style of practice”, insofar as they generate novel, distinctive ways of producing and assessing medical knowledge. As such, they signal a collective turn in medical research (via large-scale networks of clinical researchers) that reorders the relations between private and public institutions, establishes new interfaces between research laboratories and clinical settings (and, most recently, biotech companies) and redefines the relation between patients and medical practitioners.

This work builds on a previous book (Biomedical Platforms, also co-authored with Peter Keating) that analyzed the transformation of medicine into biomedicine and its consequences since the end of World War II, ranging from the recasting of hospital architecture to the redefinition of the human body, disease, and therapeutic practices. Biomedical Platforms was awarded the 2005 Ludwik Fleck Prize by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) for the best book in the area of science and technology studies.

Research Areas: Cancer Clinical Trials; Laboratory-Clinical Interactions; Material Culture and Regulation of Biomedicine; Network Analysis of Biomedical Research; Visualization and Scientific Imagery; Science & Technology Studies; Sociology of Biomedicine.

Publications

BOOKS

2012 Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, Cancer on Trial: Oncology as a New Style of Practice. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 424p. (paperback edition: 2014)

2003 Keating, Peter and Alberto Cambrosio, Biomedical Platforms. Realigning the Normal and the Pathological in Late-Twentieth-Century Medicine. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, xiv, 544p. (paperback edition: 2006)

2001 Moulin, Anne Marie and Alberto Cambrosio (Eds), Singular Selves. Historical Issues and Contemporary Debates in Immunology. Paris: Elsevier, 303p.

2000 Lock, Margaret, Allan Young and Alberto Cambrosio (Eds), Living and Working with the New Medical Technologies. Intersections of Inquiry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ix, 295p.

1995 Cambrosio, Alberto and Peter Keating, Exquisite Specificity. The Monoclonal Antibody Revolution. Oxford University Press, xv, 243p.

BOOK CHAPTERS

Forthcoming Andrew S. Hoffman, Alberto Cambrosio and Renaldo Battista, “Comparative Effectiveness Research in Health Technology Assessment.” In: Adrian R. Levy (Ed.), Comparative Effectiveness Research, Vol. 1 of Boris Sobolev (Ed.), Handbook of Health Services Research. New York: Springer Science + Business Media.

2014 Pascale Bourret, Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, “From BRCA to BRCAness: Tales of Translational Research.” In Sahra Gibbon, Galen Joseph, Jessica Mozersky, Andrea zur Nieden and Sonja Palfner (Eds), Breast Cancer Gene Research and Medical Practices: Transnational Perspectives in the Time of BRCA. London: Routledge, 175-193.

2014 Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, “Biomédecine, science et technologie: avancées scientifiques et nouvelles approches conceptuelles.” In: Bernardino Fantini (Ed.), Histoire de la pensée médicale contemporaine. Paris: Le Seuil, 139-155.

2013  Alberto Cambrosio, Daniel Jacobi and Peter Keating, “De la figurabilité des concepts immunologiques à leur figement dans les manuels universitaires: principes de textbookisation.” In: David Banks (Ed.), L’image dans le texte scientifique. Paris: L’Harmattan, 153-171.

2012 Alberto Cambrosio, Peter Keating and Andrei Mogoutov, “What’s in a Pill? On the Informational Enrichment of Anti-Cancer Drugs.” In: Volker Hess and Jean-Paul Gaudillière (Eds), Making Drugs: Ways of Regulation in Laboratories, Factories, and Consulting Rooms. Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 181-205.

2012 Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, “Cancer Research and Protocol Patients: From Clinical Material to Committee Advisors.” In: Carsten Timmermann and Elizabeth Toon (Eds), Patients and Pathways: Cancer Therapies in Historical and Sociological Perspective. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 161-185.

2010 Alberto Cambrosio, “Standardization Before Biomedicine: On Early Forms of Regulatory Objectivity.” In: Christoph Gradmann and Jonathan Simon (Eds), Evaluation: Standardizing Therapeutic Agents 1890-1950. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 252-261.

2009 Alberto Cambrosio, “Introduction: New Forms of Knowledge Production.” In: Paul Atkinson, Peter Glasner and Margaret Lock (Eds), Handbook of Genetics and Society: Mapping the New Genomic Era. London: Routledge, 465-468.

2009 Alberto Cambrosio, Peter Keating, Pascale Bourret, Philippe Mustar and Susan Rogers, “Genomic Platforms and Hybrid Formations.” In: Paul Atkinson, Peter Glasner and Margaret Lock (Eds), Handbook of Genetics and Society: Mapping the New Genomic Era. London: Routledge, 502-520.

2007 Alberto Cambrosio, Peter Keating and Pascale Bourret, “Objectivité régulatoire et systèmes de preuves en médecine : Le cas de la cancérologie.” In: Virginie Tournay (Ed.), La gouvernance des innovations biomédicales. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 155-175.

2007 Alberto Cambrosio, Pascal Cotterau, Stefan Popowycz, Andrei Mogoutov and Tania Vichnevskaia, “Analyse des réseux hétérogènes: le projet ReseauLu.” In: Claire Brossaud and Bernard Reber (Eds), Humanités numériques. Vol. 1. Paris: Hermès Science, 165-80. ENGLISH TRANSLATION 2010: “Analysis of Heterogenous Networks: The ReseauLu Project.” In: Claire Brossaud and Bernard Reber (Eds), Digital Cognitive Technologies. Epistemology and Knowledge Society. London: ISTE/Wiley, 137-152.

2006 Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, “Le criblage des médicaments: les modèles animaux en recherche thérapeutique au National Cancer Institute (1955-2000).” In Gabriel Gachelin (Ed.), Les organismes modèles dans la recherche médicale. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 181-208.

2006 Alberto Cambrosio and Peter Keating, “Cancer Clinical Trials: New Style of Research, New Forms of Risks.” In François Walter, Bernardino Fantini and Pascal Delvaux (Eds), Les cultures du risque (XVIe–XXIe siècle). Geneva: Presses d’Histoire Suisse, 169-186.

2005 Andrei Mogoutov, Alberto Cambrosio and Peter Keating, “Making Collaboration Networks Visible.” In Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel (Eds), Making Things Public. Atmospheres of Democracy. Cambridge, MA/Karlsruhe, Germany: MIT Press/ZKM, 342-345.

2005 Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, “Risk on Trial. The Interaction of Innovation and Risk Factors in Clinical Trials.” In: Thomas Schlich and Ulrich Tröhler (Eds), The Risks of Medical Innovation: Risk Perception and Assessment in Historical Context. London: Routledge, 225-241.

2005 Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, “The Production of Biomedical Measures: Three Platforms for Quantifying Cancer Pathology.” In: Gérard Jorland, Annick Opinel and George Weisz (Eds), Body Counts: Medical Quantification in Historical and Sociological Perspectives. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 173-202.

2001 Cambrosio, Alberto, "On the Coexistence of Multiple Time Frames in Historical Accounts of Immunology." In Anne Marie Moulin and Alberto Cambrosio (Eds), Singular Selves. Historical Issues and Contemporary Debates in Immunology. Paris: Elsevier, 273-286.

2001 Cambrosio, Alberto and Peter Keating. "Biomedical Sciences and Technology: History and Sociology." In Neil J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes (Eds), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences. Amsterdam: Pergamon Press, vol. 2:1222-1226.

2000 Keating, Peter and Alberto Cambrosio, "Real Compared to What?: Diagnosing Leukemias and Lymphomas." In Margaret Lock, Allan Young and Alberto Cambrosio (Eds), Living and Working with the New Medical Technologies. Intersections of Inquiry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 103-134.

1999 Keating, Peter, Camille Limoges and Alberto Cambrosio, "The Automated Laboratory: Generation and Replication of Work in Molecular Genetics." In Michael Fortun and Everett Mendelsohn (Eds), The Practices of Human Genetics. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 125-142.

REFEREED ARTICLES

2014 Alberto Cambrosio, Peter Keatingand Nicole Nelson, “Régimes thérapeutiques et dispositifs de preuve en oncologie: l’organisation des essais cliniques des groupes coopérateurs aux consortiums de recherche.” Sciences Sociales & Santé (in press).

2014 Alberto Cambrosio, Pascale Bourret, Vololona Rabeharisoa and Michel Callon, “Big data and the collective turn in biomedicine: how should we analyze post-genomic practices?” Tecnoscienza  5 (1), 13-44.

2014 Nicole Nelson, Peter Keating,Alberto Cambrosio, Adriana Aguilar-Mahecha and Mark Basik, “Testing Devices or Experimental Systems? Cancer Clinical Trials Take the Genomic Turn.” Social Science & Medicine 111, 74-83.

2013 Nicole Nelson, Peter Keatingand Alberto Cambrosio, “On Being ‘Actionable’: Clinical Sequencing and the Emerging Contours of a Regime of Genomic Medicine in Oncology.” New Genetics & Society 32, 405-428.

2013 Peter Keatingand Alberto Cambrosio, “21st Century Oncology: A Tangled Web.” Lancet 382 (December 14), e45-e46.

2013 Peter Keating, Alberto Cambrosio, Nicole Nelson, Andrei Mogoutov and Jean-Philippe Cointet, “Therapy’s shadow: a short history of the study of resistance to cancer chemotherapy.” Frontiers in Pharmacology (special issue on “Therapeutic Resistance in Cancer: Mechanisms, Insights and Progress”), 4:58.

2013 Christopher Canning, George Weisz, Andrea Tone and Alberto Cambrosio, "Medical Genetics at McGill: The History of a Pioneering Research Group." Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 30, 31-54.

2012 Jean-Philippe Cointet, Andrei Mogoutov, Pascale Bourret, Rym El-Abedand Alberto Cambrosio, “Les réseaux de l’expression génique: émergence et développement d’un domaine clé de la génomique.” Médecine/Sciences 28 (Hors serie 1), 7-13.

 

2012 Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, "Too Many Numbers: Microarrays in Clinical Cancer Research." Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43, 37-51.

2011 Peter Keatingand Alberto Cambrosio, “Clinical Trials in the Age of Personalized Medicine.” Journal of Medicine and the Person 9, 91-98.

2011 Nina Kohli-Laven, Pascale Bourret, Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, "Cancer Clinical Trials in the Era of Genomic Signatures: Biomedical Innovation, Clinical Utility, and Regulatory-Scientific Hybrids."Social Studies of Science 41, 487-513.

2011 Pascale Bourret, Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, “Regulating Diagnosis in Post-Genomic Medicine: Re-Aligning Clinical Judgment?” Social Science & Medicine 73, 816-824.

2011 David Jones, Alberto Cambrosio and Andrei Mogoutov, “Detection and Characterization of Translational Research in Cancer and Cardiovascular Medicine.” Journal of Translational Medicine 9:57.

2010 Loes Knaapen, Herve Cazeneuve, Alberto Cambrosio, Patrick Castel and Beatrice Fervers, "Pragmatic Evidence and Textual Arrangements: A Case Study of French Clinical Cancer Guidelines." Social Science & Medicine 71, 685-692.

2009 Alberto Cambrosio, Peter Keating, Thomas Schlich and George Weisz, “Biomedical Conventions and Regulatory Objectivity: A Few Introductory Remarks.” Social Studies of Science 39, 651-664.

2009 Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, “Who’s Minding the Data? Data Managers and Data Monitoring Committees in Clinical Trials,” Sociology of Health & Illness 31, 325-342.

2008 Alberto Cambrosio, Daniel Jacobi and Peter Keating, “Phages, Antibodies and De-Monstration.” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 30, 131-158.

2008 Andrei Mogoutov, Alberto Cambrosio, Peter Keating and Philippe Mustar, “Biomedical Innovation at the Laboratory, Clinical and Commercial Interface: A New Method for Mapping Research Projects, Publications and Patents in the Field of Microarrays.” Journal of Informetrics 2, 341-353.

2007 Susan Rogers and Alberto Cambrosio, “Making a New Technology Work: The Standardization and Regulation of Microarrays,” Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 80, 165-178.

2007 George Weisz, Alberto Cambrosio, Peter Keating, Loes Knaapen, Thomas Schlich and Virginie Tournay, “The Emergence of Clinical Practice Guidelines,” The Milbank Quarterly 85, 691-727.

2007 Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, “Cancer Clinical Trials: The Emergence and Development of a New Style of Practice,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 81, 197-223.

2006 Alberto Cambrosio, Peter Keating, Simon Mercier, Grant Lewison, and Andrei Mogoutov, “Mapping the Emergence and Development of Translational Cancer Research,” European Journal of Cancer 42, 3140-3148.

2006 Pascale Bourret, Andrei Mogoutov, Claire Julian-Reynier and Alberto Cambrosio, “A New Clinical Collective for French Cancer Genetics: A Heterogeneous Mapping Analysis,” Science, Technology, & Human Values 31, 431-464.

2006 Alberto Cambrosio, Peter Keating, Thomas Schlich and George Weisz, “Regulatory Objectivity and the Generation and Management of Evidence in Medicine,” Social Science & Medicine 63, 189-199.

2005 Alberto Cambrosio, “Rationalisation et médecine des preuves en oncologie: quelques remarques à propos de la régulation des pratiques biomédicales,” Sciences Sociales et Santé 23(4), 41-48.

2005 Alberto Cambrosio, Daniel Jacobi and Peter Keating, “Intertextualité et archi-iconicité. Le cas des représentations scientifiques de la réaction antigène-anticorps.” Études de communication 27 (Special issue: Analyse communicationnelle et épistémologie des sciences sociales), 75-93.

2005 Alberto Cambrosio, Daniel Jacobi and Peter Keating, “Arguing with Images: Pauling’s Theory of Antibody Formation.” Representations 89, 94-130. Reprinted in: Luc Pauwels (Ed.), Visual Cultures of Science. Rethinking Representational Practices in Knowledge Building and Science Communication. Hanover (NH): Dartmouth College Press/University Press of New England, 2006; pp. 153-194.

2004 Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, “Does Biomedicine Entail the Successful Reduction of Pathology to Biology?” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 47, 357-371.

2004 Alberto Cambrosio, Peter Keating and Andrei Mogoutov, “Mapping Collaborative Work and Innovation in Biomedicine: A Computer-Assisted Analysis of Antibody Reagent Workshops.” Social Studies of Science 34, 325-364.

2004 Keating, Peter and Alberto Cambrosio, "Signs, Markers, Profiles, and Signatures: Clinical Hematology Meets the New Genetics (1980-2000)." New Genetics and Society 23, 15-45.

2003 Cambrosio, Alberto and Peter Keating, Qu'est-ce que la biomédecine? Repères socio-historique." Médecine/Science 19: 1280-1287.

2003 Keating, Peter and Alberto Cambrosio, "Beyond 'Bad News': The Diagnosis, Prognosis and Classification of Lymphomas and Lymphoma Patients in the Era of Biomedicine (1945-1995)." Medical History 47, 291-312.

2002 Keating, Peter and Alberto Cambrosio, "From Screening to Clinical Research: The Cure of Leukemia and the Early Development of the Cooperative Oncology Groups, 1955-1966." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 76, 299-334.

2001 Keating, Peter and Alberto Cambrosio, "The New Genetics and Cancer. The Contributions of Clinical Medicine in the Era of Biomedicine." Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 56, 321-352.

2000 Keating, P. and A. Cambrosio. "Biomedical platforms." Configurations 8, 337-387.

2000 Cambrosio, Alberto and Peter Keating, "Of Lymphocytes and Pixels: The Techno-Visual Production of Cell Populations." Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 31, 233-270.

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