Usership of regenerative therapies: age, ageing and anti-ageing in the global science and technology of knee cartilage repair

Faulkner, Alex (2015) Usership of regenerative therapies: age, ageing and anti-ageing in the global science and technology of knee cartilage repair. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 93. pp. 44-53. ISSN 0040-1625

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The paper explores the relationship between the development of regenerative medicine and society's understanding of age and ageing, by focusing on the case of knee cartilage. Knee joints are susceptible to handicapping damage from debilitating disease and heavy physical activity. Wear and damage to joints have been held to be normal and to result in osteoarthritis, associated with old age. A range of different ‘regenerative’ approaches to knee cartilage repair are emerging internationally, amid challenges to conventional understandings of arthritis. Usership of these technologies is supported by a variety of claims inscribing a range of different profiles of users and market sectors. The paper shows the discursive linkages made by stakeholders between cartilage damage and subsequent osteoarthritis in medical texts, and maps a range of recent cartilage-related research, identifying key actors in the academic and commercial fields. Usership and market-building related to age and ageing are analysed through scientific agenda-setting claims, expectations, and innovation activities, demonstrating the imagined or claimed users of these technologies. The analysis points to a disparity between claims about elderly clientele for regenerative technologies and current younger patient participants in scientific work, which also has a gender dimension. A cautious note is sounded in considering the significance of anti-ageing medicine, claims about extension of the lifecourse, and ‘human enhancement’ through ‘regeneration’. The analysis and argument raise the question of whether, in practice, the novel biosciences of bodily ageing and associated regenerative medicine technologies themselves might be inscribed with ageism.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Regenerative medicine; Ageing; Arthritis; Human enhancement; Science & Technology Studies; Sociology; Knee; Cartilage
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Alex Faulkner
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2015 12:39
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2015 12:39
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