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State Labs on Cutting Edge
Atlanta (October 18, 2010) — Georgia’s small community of cutting-edge stem cell researchers got a boost this month when the first-ever trial testing a human embryonic stem cell therapy began at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center.
When it comes to stem cell research, California and Massachusetts lead the nation with hot-shot scientists and well-funded laboratories. But Georgia has its own stable of scientists working on the stem cell frontier, and the groundbreaking experiment launched on Peachtree Street could help raise the profile of Georgia’s stem cell efforts.
Emory University, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia all have scientists conducting advanced stem cell research. And the Shepherd Center can now boast that it is the first site in the world to test the safety of a treatment that scientists hope will someday help paralyzed patients walk again.
"Shepherd has now established their own precedent for running a stem cell-based clinical trial and that level of experience and expertise will be coveted,” said Hans Keirstead, a neuroscientist at the University of California Irvine who pioneered the therapy being tested in the trial. “Absolutely, they will have a real leg up on the rest of the world.”
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The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the nation's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities, Georgia Tech's more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.