Toolised medicine: an anthropological study of ‘experimental’ cell therapy during a period of regulatory change in China

Su, Yeyang (2019) Toolised medicine: an anthropological study of ‘experimental’ cell therapy during a period of regulatory change in China. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Between December 2011 and autumn 2015, Chinese health authorities developed new regulations for stem cell clinical research. During this period, all pre-existing stem cell clinical research and practices were halted, and no permission was given to new project applications. Nevertheless, other biotechnologies, including immunotherapy, continued to be developed and offered in China. My fieldwork, from early 2014 to mid-2015, allowed me to learn how this regulatory change affected the life and work of some Chinese patients, researchers, health care professionals, biotech entrepreneurs, industry analysts and investors, and how differently each group understood, valued, and in some cases, used stem cell- and immune cell- therapy. Nevertheless, I noted then, and contend in this thesis that what the developers and users of ‘experimental’ cell therapy all valued and worked with was the medicinal potentiality of these cells. In the making and use of cell-based medicinal products, the users and developers integrated their own values and purposes that derived both from within, and outside of, the medical arena. In other words, the developers and users conceptualised and used cell-based medicine like a “tool” to address particular issues rising from specific situations - not just for health reasons. I develop the concepts of “toolised medicine” and “tooling work” to depict and analyse this “tool-like” feature and use of biomedicine, and use these concepts to reassess China’s recent regulatory change in this field. In so doing, I contribute to social science theorisation and studies of biomedicine.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS History of Asia > DS701 China
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R856 Biomedical engineering. Electronics. Instrumentation
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0001 Medicine and the state. Including medical statistics, medical economics, provisions for medical care, medical sociology > RA0418 Medicine and society. Social medicine. Medical sociology
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2019 10:19
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2021 07:45

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