GA. in Stem Cell Focus
It was a matter of horrible happenstance that brought the first human trial involving embryonic stem cells to Atlanta this month.
Teams at both Atlanta’s Shepherd Center and Northwestern University in Chicago were standing by to begin the historic trial, each awaiting a newly injured patient. Sometime in the 14 days before Oct. 8, someone, presumably in the South, suffered a paralyzing spine injury, signed the papers and became Patient A.
The procedure occurred at Piedmont Hospital, which adjoins Shepherd. The patient’s name, age and sex are unknown. The news — abhorrent in some quarters, thrilling in others — immediately spread worldwide, seemingly thrusting Atlanta into the biomedical spotlight.
But the choice of an Atlanta institution to play a part in the landmark study was no accident. A confluence of factors has turned Georgia into a top-tier state for biotech research and development. There are learning centers such as Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia and Emory University, a pro-business climate that includes top-notch hospitals and the utility of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, among others.