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CEFISES Seminar: Lucie Laplane, « Stem Cell: Between Philosophy and Biology »
Series: Life and Cognition
This talk is also financed by the HYBRIDA Project, which gratefully acknowledges the support of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101006012.
Abstract: Stem cells play a critical role in the development, daily renewal, and reparation/regeneration of tissues. They are also involved in various diseases in particular cancers. Yet, there is a lot that remains to be understood about them and the traditional view is being increasingly debated. This is both a biological and a philosophical issue. Mixing both approaches, I will discuss the following questions: (1) What kind of property is stemness? I will show that stemness can be four types of properties depending on tissues and contexts (2) Does it matter? I will highlight practical consequences of each type of stemness for cancer treatment (3) Is stemness stable? I will review empirical data questioning stemness stability and suggesting that some cancers could be associated with a switch in stemness property. (4) Is stem cell a unified biological category? I will end with a perspective on how to handle the debate on stemness natural kind by mixing philosophy, experimental biology and phylogenetic analyses.