‘Miscellaneous care’: Bridging the In-between of Translational Science

Title: ’Miscellaneous care’: Bridging the In-between of Translational Science

Speaker: Isabel Briz Hernández (Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Date: Friday, 21 January 2022

Time: 1-2:30 pm

Mode: In-person and online

Venue: NAH114

Zoom Meeting Link: https://cuhk.zoom.us/j/97748163019

Meeting ID: 977 4816 3019

Passcode: 029173


In recent years, Cancer Immunotherapy, especially Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, has come to be considered a breakthrough in cancer research and a promising new pillar for its treatment. In 2017, two CAR T-cell products were approved for commercialization in the US and since then the number of clinical trials on this therapy has increased significantly worldwide. China, immersed in its transition to a knowledge economy and focusing on biopharma and translational science as key sectors of development is betting strongly on the potential of CAR T-cells to boost its economy and the wellbeing of its citizens, already hosting the highest number of trials on this therapy in the world.

Based on fieldwork in China on oncology trials for immunotherapy which involve foreign trial patients, in this talk on the making of cutting-edge biomedical technology, I focus not in the most prominent people in clinical trials: scientists, doctors and patients but in drivers, translators, and foreign patients’ coordinators. Among their various tasks, I focus on the embodied practices that they perform to respond to the needs at the bench and the bedside, what I call ‘miscellaneous care’. I argue that although invisible, these practices are constitutive of the technoscientific assemblage of translational science.


Isabel Briz Hernández is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology in The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research engages with ongoing debates in Medical Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies around the production of scientific knowledge, hope, care and the lived experience of patients, taking as a case study the development of oncology clinical trials with immunotherapy in mainland China.

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