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Adoptable packages and the cost of their adoption: the craftwork of making the right cells for regenerative medicine in Japan

Mikami, K

New Genetics and Society   34 (4) 377-397

DOI: 10.1080/14636778.2015.1098526

October 2015   (First published online October 2015)

The goal of regenerative medicine is to utilize biological properties of cells for therapeutic purposes. Although substantial international investment has been made in this biomedical technology, the issue of which type of cells best serves for these purposes still remains unsettled.

Adopting a conceptual framework from Clarke and Fujimura that the rightness of “tools” needs to be socially constructed, this paper examines the interactions of various actors in Japan and demonstrates two kinds of craftwork as examples of attempts to construct the rightness of the cells for the technology. In such attempts, the actors not only produced adoptable packages but also assumed responsibility for their dissemination. However, because the packages are tied to their original practices as well as to their working environment, others would have to bear considerable cost of articulation to adopt them for their job and hence the rightness of the cells has not been firmly upheld.