Accepted Paper:

The emergence of translational nanomedicine: Expectations, scientific narrations and materiality  


Stefano Crabu (Politecnico di Milano)

Paper long abstract:

Translational nanomedicine is promoted as an emerging biomedical field, capable of opening a therapeutic scenario where treatments will become personalised and individuals will take an increasingly active role in the control of their daily well-being. In this sense, the standard view of nanomedicine, supported by the biomedical community, seems characterised by a "future-oriented debate" that is to be understood as the complex "outcome" of scientific narrations arising from the potential application of nanotechnology in the context of patient care.

In this domain laden with hopes for biomedical sciences, the ongoing dialogue between nanotechnology and biotechnology is a topic of undoubted importance for Science and Technology Studies. In the last decade, plenty of contributions shed light on how "forward-looking statements" on scientific and technological progress may be regarded as rhetorical devices capable of attracting the attention of relevant stakeholders, together with a number of financial, regulatory and symbolic resources for the establishment of new biomedical technologies.

Starting from these theoretical suggestions and based on the data collected during an ethnographic research that was carried-out in a laboratory of nanomedicine based in Northern Italy, this paper explores the relationship between scientific "forward-looking statements" and the situated practices of biomedical research in nanomedicine. In doing so I develop the concept of promissory bio-object as a concept of better understanding the engagement of anticipatory knowledge in biomedical research with a specific emerging biomedical device called "triangle DNA origami".

Panel E2
Coproduction of emerging biomedical technologies