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01.12.2015 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 3/2015 Open Access

NanoEthics 3/2015

Analyses of Acceptability Judgments Made Toward the Use of Nanocarrier-Based Targeted Drug Delivery: Interviews with Researchers and Research Trainees in the Field of New Technologies

NanoEthics > Ausgabe 3/2015
Vanessa Chenel, Patrick Boissy, Jean-Pierre Cloarec, Johane Patenaude


The assessment of nanotechnology applications such as nanocarrier-based targeted drug delivery (TDD) has historically been based mostly on toxicological and safety aspects. The use of nanocarriers for TDD, a leading-edge nanomedical application, has received little study from the angle of experts’ perceptions and acceptability, which may be reflected in how TDD applications are developed. In recent years, numerous authors have maintained that TDD assessment should also take into account impacts on ethical, environmental, economic, legal, and social (E3LS) issues in order to lead to socially responsible innovation. Semi-structured interviews (n = 22) were conducted with French and Canadian researchers and research trainees with diverse disciplinary backgrounds and involved in research related to emerging technologies. The interviews focussed on scenarios presenting two types of TDD nanocarriers (carbon, synthetic DNA) in two contexts of use (lung cancer, seasonal flu). Content and inductive analyses of interviews showed how facets of perceived impacts such as health, environment, social cohabitation, economy, life and death, representations of the human being and nature, and technoscience were weighed in acceptability judgments. The analyses also revealed that contextual factors related to device (nature of the treatment), to use (gravity of the disease), and to user (culture) influenced the weighting assigned to perceived impacts and thus contributed to variability in interviewees’ judgments of acceptability. Giving consideration to researchers’ perspective could accompany first steps of implementation and development of nanomedicine by producing a first, but wide, picture of the acceptability of nanocarrier-based TDD.

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