Egenis Seminar with Dr Alison Kraft 'Paradigms, paradoxes, plasticity: A history of the blood stem cell'
Dr Alison Kraft, Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Biorisks and Society, University of Nottingham
University of Exeter,Egenis,Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJ
Room no: GF7, Byrne House Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PMAbstract
This paper begins by reviewing the history the blood stem cell from its emergence within 1950s radiobiology, to its clinical use – under the aegis of bone marrow transplantation – as an adjunct to radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer, to its (uncertain) place within ‘regenerative medicine’. This provides a context for the second part of the paper which focuses on three facets of the blood stem cell: its paradigmatic status within stem cell biology, the paradoxes which underlie this status and its developmental potential (‘plasticity’). The final section considers how, beginning in the mid-1990s and prompted largely by developments within human embryonic stem cell biology, these facets of the blood stem cell came under new scrutiny. Overall, the paper emphasizes the significance of the blood stem cell for the development of stem cell biology, highlights its changing place in the evolving contours of this field and argues that the history of the blood stem cell offers lessons for its future.