Judging Quality and Coordination in Biomarker Diagnostic Development



Published Jun 20, 2015
Spencer Phillips Hey


What makes a high-quality biomarker experiment The success of personalised 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.

How to Cite

Hey, S. P. (2015). Judging Quality and Coordination in Biomarker Diagnostic Development. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 30(2), 207–227. https://doi.org/10.1387/theoria.12697
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biomarkers, personalised medicine, underdetermination, neurooncology