Sarah Yvonnet

Doctoral student in philosophy of science

  • UMR 8011 Sciences, Norms and Democracy and Biology and Therapeutics of Cancer Laboratory


"An epistemological approach to the tumour micro-environment", thesis conducted under the supervision of Anouk Barberousse.

The genetic perspective has long been the dominant explanation for carcinogenesis. However, a growing body of evidence has shown that a mutational approach is not sufficient to capture the complexity of cancer. Some authors therefore propose a new theoretical framework, focusing on the tumour micro-environment (TME).

This perspective offers an innovative point of view as it argues that carcinogenesis should be understood not as the effect of the cancerous tumour in isolation, but of a broader set of components constituting the MCT.

This project examines how the development of a new theoretical framework influences the practice of biologists and therapeutic advances in cancer research. We will try to understand how the MCT has been constituted and developed as a relevant alternative to the model proposed by the genetic perspective. Secondly, we will study the experimental practices and conceptual advances related to MCT.

Finally, we will study the consequences in the therapeutic field of the reorganisation of knowledge linked to the concept of MCT. In particular, this project will demonstrate how important it is to think about how new understandings of cancer influence the design of experimental protocols and direct the development of certain therapeutic approaches at the expense of others.