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Kalvbrässkontroversen: Veterinärmedicinaren Elis Sandberg, cancermedlet THX och skolmedicinen i Sverige från 1952 till 1989
Linköping University, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, Department of Culture Studies – Tema Q. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2939-4085
2016 (Swedish)In: Lychnos, ISSN 0076-1648, 129-154 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Abstract. The Thymus Controversy. Elis Sandberg and the controversial cancer drug THX in Sweden 1952 – 1989

This article explores the controversy surrounding Swedish veterinary Elis Sandberg and the alternative cancer drug THX from the early 1950’s up until Sandberg’s death in 1989. THX was an extract for injection made from calves’ thymus glands, as Sandberg − contrary to the medical community − was convinced that the thymus gland was an important agent in the body’s defense against cancer. The aim of the article is to outline the key themes and turning points of the conflict, but also to explain how and why it erupted and continued for decades. The controversy is examined in connection to a broad range of contexts, such as conventional medicine, health care policies, medical jurisdiction and political change. Thereby, the article shows how a lack of legislation on pharmaceutical trials, government attempts to delegitimize alternative medicine, a reformed health care system and a group of cancer patients in desperate need of effective treatment, created a cultural and structural space for THX. Further, it is discussed how early attempts at closing the controversy using scientific arguments failed, and later ones created public outcry, resonating with the growing critique of medicine and authorities in general in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Analytically, special attention is paid to the roles and changing meanings assigned to patients during the course of the controversy. It is suggested that the closure of the conflict may, at least in part, have been due to an increasing cultural relevance of patients as advocates for individual choice in medical treatment in the 1980’s.

 

Keywords: controversial science, patient advocacy, history of medicine, Swedish welfare state, science and technology studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Lärdomshistoriska samfundet , 2016. 129-154 p.
Keyword [en]
controversial science, patient advocacy, history of medicine, Swedish welfare state, science and technology studies
Keyword [sv]
vetenskapliga kontroverser, teknik- och vetenskapshistoria, medicinhistoria, 1900-tal, cancer, cancerforskning, alternativ medicin, historia
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Humanities Other Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-134847OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-134847DiVA: diva2:1077267
Available from: 2017-02-27 Created: 2017-02-27 Last updated: 2017-03-08

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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