Moving Stems Cells to the Market: an Inquiry into the circulation and Valuation of Stem Cells
Innovation in the life sciences in general and stem cell science in particular is driven by an interlinked set of market demands with regulatory arrangements. Predominant among these markets are research funding, scientific labor, research materials, clinical labor, venture capital, patenting and, last but not least, health consumers. In other words, biological materials and biomedical products have become key sites of capital accumulation and encapsulate huge hopes for new health therapies and economic growth. Yet very little scholarly attention has been paid to the movement of human tissues from the clinic to the market — the various steps from sampling to storage, packaging, transportation and commercialization — and the successive stages to ‘realize value’. Relying on prolonged ethnographic research conducted in parallel in a laboratory of gene and cell therapy at a university hospital and in a clinical stage pharmaceutical company, this project will empirically allow to question how, why and with what consequences stem cells circulate and gain value by following their journey from donors to the market. Informed by science and technology studies, valuation studies and the material turn in social science, this project’s results will illuminate the mutual shaping of moving stem cells markets, medical and regulatory practices.
Short title:
Moving Stems Cells to the Market
Start date:
End date:
Project leader:
Spiral research centre - Université de Liège (SPIRAL)