2004 & 2005
In February 2004, The Department of Radiation Medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute was approved by the Radiological Physics Center (RPC) to offer Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) to patients enrolled in cooperative clinical trials. IMRT is a form of three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy that links treatment planning and software to treatment delivery devices. High doses of radiation can be delivered to cancer tumors while substantially reducing the risk to surrounding tissues. These increased radiation doses give clinicians a much greater chance of completely eliminating the tumor.
Dr. Michael Wong began to use high doses of Interleukin-2 (IL-2) to treat patients with metastatic melanoma and kidney cancer. High-dose IL-2 is the only therapy approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma, the first therapy approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma in 20 years as well and the only immunotherapy for these diseases.
Encouraged by preclinical studies showing the ability of the selenium compound, se-(methyl)selenocysteine (MSC), to stimulate the antitumor activity of Irinotecan and protect against drug-induced toxicity, Roswell Park initiated clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of regimens combining various chemotherapeutic agents with selenium compounds. Youcef Rustum, PhD, Senior Vice President for Science Administration reported the findings of their preclinical studies at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in New Orleans, LA.
Roswell Park researchers, Chulee Yompakdee, PhD, and Joel A. Huberman, PhD, Department of Cancer Genetics, were honored for having the Paper of the Week for their article, Enforcement of Late Replication Origin Firing by Clusters of Short G-rich DNA Sequences that was published in the October 1, 2004 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The authors reported on their examination of mechanisms that control DNA replication timing. Drs. Yompakdee and Huberman discovered that certain late-replicating regions of the DNA are rich in the DNA subunit, G and that removing the G rich subunit from the late-replicating region could convert it to an early-replicating region and vice versa. Replication timing may be important for preventing cancer. Also, in the same issue, Drs. Rajinder S. Sawhney and Michael G. Brattain, Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics suggest that autocrine Transforming Growth Factor alpha (TGF-alpha) regulates the enzyme p70S6 kinase (S6K) and thus cellular motility and adhesion in human colon cancer cells. Activation of S6K has been linked in previous studies to cancer.
In December 2004, Roswell Park became the first facility in the Buffalo-Niagara region to offer state-of-the-art robotic surgical technology to patients with prostate cancer. James Mohler, MD, Chair of the Department of Urologic Oncology, RPCI, launched the use of the $1.35 million da Vinci® Surgical System. This robotic system enables surgeons to see vital anatomical structures more clearly and perform surgical procedures more precisely. The technology provide a 3-D view of the operating field, eliminates large incisions and gives surgeons the ability to rotate instruments 360 degrees.
RPCI is ranked 13th among the nation's 118 independent academic hospitals for National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding in fiscal year 2005.
RPCI opened a newly constructed state-of-the-art Minimally Invasive Surgery Center to bring the next generation of surgery to cancer patients and provide educational opportunities to physicians and nurses. By November, the Center had treated its 100th patient with a radical prostatectomy using the da Vinci® Surgical Robotic System.
The Gilda Radner Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry, established in 1981 to track families who have included at least two first degree relatives diagnosed with ovarian cancer, celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Cayuga Medical Center and RPCI announced an affiliation in 2005 to bring state-of-the-art radiation therapy services to the Finger Lakes Region.
The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons granted approval to the cancer program at RPCI in recognition of “the excellence of the Roswell Park faculty and staff.”
RPCI, and the rest of the world, celebrated the 25th anniversary of the PSA test, developed at Roswell Park in the lab of Dr. T. Ming Chu.