Philosophical Problems in Personalised Medicine (registration required)

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Date(s) - 29/05/2014 - 30/05/2014
All Day

Lakatos (LAK) 2.06


                    Philosophical problems in personalised medicine

Workshop, Thurs 29 May – Fri 30 May 2014

Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, Lakatos Building, Room 2.06

London School of Economics


The notion of “personalized medicine” has recently received a lot of attention. While the term is being used in a number of different ways, the core idea is that therapies in the future will be increasingly targeted to the individual, often genetic, characteristics of patients. This development raises questions of how clinical research evidence and regulatory requirements need to be modified when therapies are tailored to patients’ individual characteristics. The dominant model for assessing therapeutic effectiveness, and increasingly for assessing health policies, prioritizes evidence from (large) Randomized Clinical Trials. However, such trials may be unfeasible where personalized medicine is concerned. Moreover, personalized medicine raises connected issues in health economics: many of these treatments are very expensive, and reliable cost-effectiveness data may be very difficult to obtain.

Although ethical issues concerning genetic screening have received some attention, little philosophical work has focused upon the epistemological issues of providing evidence for causal claims about personalized treatments, and for claims about the reliability and cost-effectiveness of these treatments. To address this shortfall and to enable a broadly informed discussion of these philosophical issues, this workshop will bring together experts in personalized medicine from research and policy with philosophers and health economists.


This workshop is jointly organised by Chris Blunt, Stephan Guttinger and Reidar Lie (University of Bergen). We acknowledge generous funding by the

-Philosophy Department of the University of Bergen

-Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, LSE

-Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, LSE

-Belgian Embassy



Chris Blunt, LSE (

Stephan Guttinger, CPNSS, LSE (



Day 1, Thurs 29 May

9am – 9:30am:            Arrival and registration

9:30am – 9:45am:       Welcome note

9:45am – 11:15am:     Session 1: Current developments in personalised medicine

Speaker 1: Lawrence Brody, Division of Genomics and Society, NIH, Bethesda

Title: “Into the next decade of genomics. Sorting through reality,                       science fiction and fantasy.”

 Speaker 2: Ingrid Slade, Centre for Personalised Medicine, Oxford UK

 Title: TBA                               

11:15am – 11:30am:   Coffee break

11:30am – 1pm:        Session 2: Regulatory and economic issues in personalised medicine

Speaker 1: Erik Schokkaert, University Leuven, Belgian Chair at the University of London (supported by the Belgian Embassy)

Title: “Regulatory and economic issues in personalised medicine.”

Speaker 2: Stuart Hogarth, King’s College London

Title: “Who’s in charge around here? The FDA and personalised                   medicine.”

1pm – 2pm:                 Lunch break (Lak 2.06)

2pm – 3:30pm:            Session 3.1: Methodological and philosophical issues

Speaker 1: Reidar Lie, University of Bergen

Speaker 2: Stephen John, Cambridge, UK

Title: “Can screening be personalised? Can screening advice be                                                   personalised? Should they be?”

3:30pm – 4pm:            Coffee break

4pm – 5:30pm:            Session 3.2: Methodological and philosophical issues

Speaker 3: Chris Blunt, LSE

Title: “Hierarchies of Evidence and Personalised Medicine.”

Speaker 4: Brendan Clarke, UCL

Title: “Personalised medicine and the reference-class problem.”

7:30pm:                       Dinner


Day 2, Fri 30 May

9:30am – 11am:          Session 4: Ethical issues in personalised medicine: how to deal with uncertain significance?

Speaker 1: Stephan Guttinger, CPNSS, LSE

Title: “Synthetic Biology and what it can teach us about uncertain significance and personalised medicine.”

Speaker 2: Sara Hull, Department of Bioethics, NIH, Bethesda

Title: “Whole Genome Sequencing in the Clinical Setting: The Ethics of ‘Too Much Information’.”

11am – 12:30am:        Session 5: concluding discussion (plenary session)

12:30am:                     End of event




The Workshop will take place in room LAK 2.06 on the 2nd floor of the Lakatos Building on the LSE campus (see maps below for details).


Wifi will be available inside the Lakatos Building. Guests will have to create an account on ‘The Cloud’ ( and will then be able to access the network “_The Cloud” with that login throughout the campus. See following instructions for more details:

1. The visitor connects to ‘_The Cloud’ SSID on their device as they would attach to any wireless network.

2. They select ‘Get Online’.

3. Select ‘Free Cloud WiFi’. They can also use the other options if they own an account, but we are only interested in the 1st option.

4. If they own an account with ‘the cloud’ they can use their existing credentials. If they do not, they can create an account at this point (by selecting the same named button).

5. Once logged in it will confirm ‘You are online with ‘the cloud’.

Here is the link for the general overview on their site:

Here is the direct link for account creation / registration ahead of events:


The Club Quarters Hotel is located just 1 min off the LSE campus (see maps below for more details).

Address: Club Quarters, 61 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3JW

Phone: 020 7404 6640



Lunch, coffee break, dinner:

Lunch (Thurs) and coffee (both days) will be provided on site for all participants.

The workshop dinner for invited speakers will take place at the Ship Tavern, an old pub dating back to 1549 (it has seen some modernization since then). Other participants are welcome to join the speakers at their own expense. If you would like to do so, please email Stephan or Chris before 25 May.


Maps and travel information:

Lakatos Building and LSE campus:




How to get to LSE:


By London Underground:

The local stations for LSE are Temple (District and Circle Lines) and Holborn (Piccadilly and Central Lines).


From King’s Cross St. Pancras take the Piccadilly Line southbound to Holborn.


From Victoria, take the District or Circle line eastbound to Temple.


From Heathrow Airport, take the Piccadilly Line to Holborn, or the Heathrow Express to Paddington, and:


From Paddington, take the Bakerloo line southbound to Oxford Circus, and change onto the Central line eastbound to Holborn.


From Temple, turn left out of the station, go up the stairs and cross the road at the pedestrian crossing onto Surrey Street. Follow this to the junction with The Strand, and cross over onto The Aldwych. Follow the Aldwych round to the west, until the junction with pedestrianised Houghton Street.

To reach the Lakatos building from Houghton Street, follow Houghton Street to the end, turn left, and then turn right after Waterstones book shop. You will pass the George IV pub on your left. The entrance to the Lakatos Building is opposite the pub on your right.


From Holborn, turn left out of the station, down Kingsway. Follow Kingsway to the junction with Portugal Street on your left, past the Peacock Theatre. Turn left onto Portugal, and follow. After passing Waterstones on your right and the George IV pub on your left, the entrance to the Lakatos Building is on your right.


It is always advisable to purchase an Oyster Card, available at any London Underground ticket machine, as this will make any journeys considerably cheaper. Oyster Cards are not valid on the Heathrow Express, but are valid on Piccadilly Line journeys to Heathrow Airport.





By Bus:

Bus numbers 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 26, 59, 68, X68, 76, 77a, 91, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341 and 521 all stop on The Aldwych by LSE.


By Car:

Driving and parking in London can be very expensive. LSE is inside the Congestion Charge Zone. The closest NCP car park is located on Parker St off Drury Lane, approximately 5 minutes walk from LSE.



The Barclays Bikes stationed around London are a cheap, efficient and environmentally-friendly way to get around. The LSE campus now also hosts two Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations on Houghton Street and Portugal Street.

For cyclists with access to their own bike, there are bicycle racks on campus at St Clement’s Building; in Grange Court; opposite the main entrance on Houghton Street; and in the courtyard behind St Philips Building (entrance on Sheffield Street).







Accommodation and dinner venue:


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