Cancer Patients as Proxy Soldiers

in Contested Medicine

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226465319
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226465333 | DOI:
Cancer Patients as Proxy Soldiers

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This chapter concentrates on the early stages of Eugene Saenger's program when he first submitted a proposal to the military to study radiation effects, until ca. 1965, by which time he had initiated and greatly expanded his research program. It determines a crucial event, namely his decision to substitute total-body irradiation (TBI) for chemotherapy in treating cancer. Saenger would substitute TBI for chemotherapy in patients with advanced cancers. The trajectory of his program emphasizes his ability to adjust the program's aims in response to contingencies and his expansion of the military goals and incorporation of a new therapeutic profile with bone marrow transplants. In his studies, Saenger used sick and infirm patients as proxies for soldiers. He actively recruited only certain types of patients, delivered radiation according to protocols that were affected by military questions, and modified his patients with bone marrow transplants.

Keywords: total-body irradiation; Eugene Saenger; chemotherapy; cancer; bone marrow transplants; soldiers; radiation

Chapter.  8769 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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