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Towards the applied: the construction of ethical positions in stem cell translational research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Alan Cribb, Steven Wainwright, Clare Williams, Bobbie Farsides, Mike Michael

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351 - 361
Number of pages11
JournalMedicine Health Care And Philosophy
Issue number3

King's Authors


This paper aims to make an empirically informed analytical contribution to the development of a more socially embedded bioethics. Drawing upon 10 interviews with cutting edge stem cell researchers (5 scientists and 5 clinicians) it explores and illustrates the ways in which the role positions of translational researchers are shaped by the 'normative structures' of science and medicine respectively and in combination. The empirical data is used to illuminate three overlapping themes of ethical relevance: what matters in stem cell research, experimental treatment, and responsible claim making (as contrasted with 'hype'). Finally, we suggest that this kind of 'descriptive' ethical analysis has potential relevance for understanding other substantive areas of stem cell ethics in practice, and we briefly consider the questions our analysis raises about role positions and ethical agency, and the implications for bioethics as a field of scholarship.

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