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01.04.2015 | Research Paper | Ausgabe 4/2015 Open Access

Journal of Nanoparticle Research 4/2015

Effects of disciplinary cultures of researchers and research trainees on the acceptability of nanocarriers for drug delivery in different contexts of use: a mixed-methods study

Zeitschrift:
Journal of Nanoparticle Research > Ausgabe 4/2015
Autoren:
Vanessa Chenel, Patrick Boissy, Jean-Pierre Cloarec, Johane Patenaude

Abstract

The acceptability of nanomedical applications, which have the potential to generate ethical and societal impacts, is a significant factor in the deployment of nanomedicine. A lack of fit between nanomedical applications and society’s values may result from a partial consideration of such impacts. New approaches for technological evaluation focused on impact perception, acceptance, and acceptability are needed to go beyond traditional technology assessment approaches used with nanotechnology, which focus mainly on toxicological and safety criteria. Using a new evaluative approach based on perceived impacts of nanotechnology, the objective of this study was to assess perceptions among researchers and research trainees familiar with emergent technologies and from different disciplinary background the scope of acceptability judgments made towards the use of nanocarriers. This mixed-methods study was based on scenarios presenting two types of drug-delivery nanocarriers (carbon, synthetic DNA) in two contexts of use (lung cancer treatment, seasonal flu treatment). Researchers and research trainees in the natural sciences and engineering, and the social sciences and the humanities were invited by email to take part in this project. An online questionnaire followed by semi-directed interviews allowed characterization of disciplinary divergences regarding to impact perception, acceptance, and acceptability of the scenarios. The results suggest that impact perception is influenced by disciplinary culture. Also, trends can be seen between respondents’ profiles and variables of acceptance and acceptability, and certain components of the acceptability judgement are specific to each disciplinary culture. The acknowledgment and consideration of these disciplinary divergences could allow, among others, for opening up interdisciplinary dialogue on matters related to the acceptability of nanomedical applications and their developments.

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