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Biomedical OdysseysFetal Cell Experiments from Cyberspace to China$
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Priscilla Song

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174778

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174778.001.0001

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(p.181) Chapter 8 i-Witnessing
Biomedical Odysseys

Priscilla Song

Princeton University Press

As Dr. Huang and the New Century staff members were busy devising new methods to document the effects of their experimental human olfactory ensheathing glial cell transplantation surgery, patients and their families also developed their own ways of assessing whether the experimental procedure worked. This chapter focuses on how fetal cell recipients and their families have engaged questions of efficacy in the transnational realm of experimental medicine. Prospective transplantation candidates carefully parsed online reports of others' surgical experiences and analyzed the credibility of Chinese neurosurgeons' claims, while postoperative patients monitored their bodies for signs of difference and parsed these changes online. It is argued that the digitally mediated forms of knowledge they have produced offer a poignant challenge to what counts as expertise and data in the quest for “evidence” in experimental medicine.

Keywords:   experimental treatment, experimental medicine, medical practice, olfactory ensheathing cells, olfactory ensheathing glia, fetal cell transplantation

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