Stems and Standards: Social Interaction in the Search for Blood Stem Cells

Journal of the History of Biology 43 (1):67 - 109 (2010)

Authors
Melinda Bonnie Fagan
University of Utah
Abstract
This essay examines the role of social interactions in the search for blood stem cells, in a recent episode of biomedical research. Linked to mid-20th century cell biology, genetics and radiation research, the search for blood stem cells coalesced in the 1960s and took a developmental turn in the late 1980s, with significant ramifications for immunology, stem cell and cancer biology. Like much contemporary biomedical research, this line of inquiry exhibits a complex social structure and includes several prominent scientific successes, recognized as such by participating researchers. I use personal interviews and the published record to trace the social interactions crucial for scientific success in this episode. All recognized successes in this episode have two aspects: improved models of blood cell development, and new interfaces with other lines of research. The narrative of the search for blood stem cells thus yields a robust account of scientific success in practice, which generalizes to other scientific episodes and lends itself to expansion to include wider social contexts
Keywords social epistemology  immunology  stem cells  collaboration  laboratory studies  scientific practice  Irving Weissman
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DOI 10.1007/s10739-008-9174-8
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References found in this work BETA

Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact.Ludwik Fleck - 1979 - University of Chicago Press.
The Immune Self: Theory or Metaphor?Alfred I. Tauber - 1994 - Cambridge University Press.
The Search for the Hematopoietic Stem Cell: Social Interaction and Epistemic Success in Immunology.Melinda B. Fagan - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 38 (1):217-237.

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Citations of this work BETA

Integration of Specialties: An Institutional and Organizational View.Elihu M. Gerson - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):515-524.
Accountability and Values in Radically Collaborative Research.Eric Winsberg, Bryce Huebner & Rebecca Kukla - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 46:16-23.

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