Dr. Shafirstein is a Member/Professor of Oncology in the Department of Cell Stress Biology, and the Director of Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) Clinical Research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He is a materials scientist who is focused on the development of laser and thermal ablation devices and techniques for the treatment of cancerous tumors.
Working in Roswell Park's PDT Center, Dr. Shafirstein's goal is to expand the use and enhance the translation of PDT. His research team invented and created real-time light dosimetry and treatment planning systems for PDT, which support three clinical studies at the PDT Center.
He is also the co-leader of the clinical project of the PDT-PPG and serves as Director of the PDT Clinical Research Team, providing support for all light base diagnostic and treatment protocols at Roswell Park.
Dr. Shafirstein's research has been focused on developing computer models for simulating light and heat propagation in materials and tissues for the last 20 years. His research group was the first to publish the use of finite element modeling to simulate light propagation in heterogeneous tissue structures. In this novel approach the diffusion model can be used to simulate laser therapies with micrometers resolution, taking into account the effect of latent heat and changes in blood flow. His group was also the first one to use this technique to develop a model for simulating the propagation and absorption of white-light (500-1000 nm) in tissues. These models have been validated in preclinical studies and have been successfully used to explain clinical outcomes and design clinical studies.
Dr. Shafirstein also pioneered the use of conductive thermal ablation for margins control in the treatment of solid cancerous tumors. He is the primary inventor of the conductive thermal ablation device and the principal investigator of NIH and DoD funded projects that demonstrated the efficacy of this technology in pre-clinical studies.
Dr. Shafirstein holds 6 US patents and has published 65 papers in peer reviewed journals.
His current research is focused on developing clinical trials for improving the quality of life and survival for patients with head and neck cancer by using image-guided PDT.
Image guided photodynamic therapy for recurrent head and neck cancer. We are developing clinical systems and computer algorithms for real-time control of PDT.
NIH Grants and Studies:
Project Title: Integrated Image-Guided Dosimetry and Treatment Planning for Photodynamic Therapy
Source and ID: R01 CA193610-01A1 | NCI/NIH
Project Period: 12/1/15-11/30/20
Major Goals: The objective of this study is to use the power of our integrated dosimetry system to study and define optimal fluence rate and fluence for interstitial photodynamic therapy.
Project Title: Mechanisms and Strategies for Optimization
Source and ID: P01 CA55791-21 | NCI/NIH
Project Period: 6/16/15-5/31/19
Role: Project Co-Leader
Description: The major goal of this program project is to demonstrate that PDT with HPPH results in long-term tumor responses that compare, or better than, the current standards of care. In the scientific part of this project, we will research how PDT can be improved by enhancing cancer cells’ retention of new photosensitizing drugs, based on tumor-specific characteristics, and investigate how PDT impacts patient antitumor immunity.completed studies, and the development of the protocols for new studies.
Project Title: Interstitial Photodynamic Therapy during Standard Chemotherapy for Palliation of Patients with Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma – Phase II
Source and ID: Pinnacle Biologics Inc. Investigator initiated Study | Award # IIS RGA010A
Project Period: 2/1/14-51/31/16
Description: The objective of this study is to test the efficacy of I-PDT for palliation in patients, during standard chemotherapy.
G. Shafirstein, M. Bamberger and G. Revesz, "Structure and Properties of Laser Surface Treated Ceramic (Al2O3) Coatings". I.M.E.C IV, 535-542 (1988).
G. Kimmel, G. Shafirstein and M. Bamberger, "Fast Thickness Measurement of Thin Crystalline Layers by Relative Intensities in XRPD Method". Advances in X - Ray Analysis 37, 32, 293-301, (1989).
G. Shafirstein, M. Bamberger, F. Maisenhalder and M. Langhor, "A Comparison of Laser Treatments for the Production of Boronized SAE 1045 Carbon Steel". Metal Behaviour and Surface Eng. ed. by S. Curioni, B. Watherhouse, D. Kirk, I.I.T.T, 407-413, (1989).
G. Shafirstein, M. Bamberger, W. Kaplan, and G. Kimmel, "Residual Stress Analysis of Laser Treated Al2O3 Coatings", Metal Behaviour and Surface Eng. ed. by S. Curioni, B. Watherhouse, D. Kirk, I.I.T.T , 347-351 (1989).
M. Boas, G. Shafirstein, M. Bamberger, "Secondary Recrystallization in Cooper Sheet". I.M.E.C. V. , 399-408, (1990)
P. Schaaf, V. Biehl, M. Bamberger, G. Shafirstein, M. Langohr, F. Maisenhalder and U. Gonser, "Laser Surface Alloying of Steel by CrB2", I.M.E.C. V. 459-454, (1990).
G. Shafirstein, M. Bamberger and G. Revesz, "Laser - Melted Amorphous Anodize Layer - Structure and Properties". Thin Solid Films, 196, 243-252 (1991).
G. Shafirstein, M. Bamberger, M. Langhor and F. Maisenhalder, "Laser Surface Alloying Carbon Steel and Alpha-Fe by CrB2 Particles". Surface Coating and Technology 45, 417-423, (1991).
M. Bamberger, M. Boaz, G. Shafirstein, F. Maisenhalder and M. Langohr, "Structure and Properties of Steel Surface Laser-Alloyed with CrB2", Laser in Materials Eng. 1, 27-36, (1991).
G. Shafirstein, M. Bamberger, "Laser-Beam-Material Coupling and its Influence on a Laser-Induced Formation of a Crystalline Alpha-Al2O3 on an Amorphous Alumina Substrate", Materials Science and Engineering, A150, 133-137, (1992).
G. Shafirstein, S. Arieli, M. Bamberger, F. Maisenhalder and M. Langohr,
"Modelling and Solidification Behaviour During Laser Surface Alloying of Ferrous Alloying of Ferrous Alloys with CrB2.” Mats. Sci. & Tech. vol 10, 837-840, (1994).
S.R.J Saunders, D.J Hall, N. McCormick, G. Shafirstein, J. Meneve, J.M. Smith, H. Vetters, E. Matthaei-Schulz and J. Haupt, "Hardness (Mechanical Property) Testing of Surfaces", BCR, MAT1-CT92-0027, February (1994).
P.F. Tortorelli, S.R.J. Saunders, G. Shafirstein and D.J Hall, "Use of the Mechanical Properties Microprobe for Characterization of Oxide Scales". Materials at High Temp. 12, 95 (1994).
G. Shafirstein, A. Day, S.R.J. Saunders and P.N Quested, "Quantitative Measurement of Localised Strain", NPL, DMM (D) 212 June 1994.
N. M. Jennet, G. Shafirstein and S.R.J. Saunders, “Comparison of Indenter Tip Shape Measurement using Calibrated AFM and Indentation into Fused Silica”, “Harteprufung in Theorie und Praxis”, Publ. VDI-Verlag GmbH, Vol. 1194, 201-210, (1995).
G. Shafirstein, S. R. J. Saunders and J. P. Banks, “Adhesion Testing of TiN Coatings”, Surface Modification Technologies (v. 8), 127-123 (1995).
G. Shafirstein, M.G. Gee and N. McCormick, "Error Analysis for Nanoindentation", Mat. Res. Soc. vol. 356, 717-22 (1995).
A. Day and G. Shafirstein, "Assessment of local residual strain by electron backscatter patterns and nanoindentation", Mats. Sci. & Tech. Vol. 12, 873-879, (1996).
S.R.J Saunders, G Shafirstein, N.M Jennett, S Osgerby, J Meneve, J F Smith, H Vetters, J Haupt. Calibration of depth sensing indentation instruments – an international intercomparison. Philosophical Magazine A, 74 (5), 1125 - 1129 (1996).
M.R. Castell, G. Shafirstein and D.A. Ritchie, The indentation response of GaAs-AlAs heterostructures, Philosophical Magazine A, 74 (5), 1185 – 1194, (1996).
Osgerby, S., Saunders, S.R.J., Gohil, D.D., Shafirstein, G. Mechanical and chemical characterisation of coated systems, Materials Science Forum, 251-254 (PART 2), 737-744, (1997).
Lapidoth M, Shafirstein G, Ben-Amitai D, Michael D and Waner M. “Port Wine Stains - Can We Predict The Prognosis?” JEADV 17, 455-62, (2003).
G. Shafirstein, W. Bäumler, M. Lapidoth, S. Ferguson, P. E. North and M.Waner. A New Mathematical Approach to the Diffusion Approximation Theory For Selective Photothermolysis Modeling And Its Implication In Laser Treatment of Port-Wine Stains. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 34:335–347, (2004).
Lapidoth M, Shafirstein G, Ben Amitai D, Hodak E, Waner M, David M. Reticulate erythema following diode laser-assisted hair removal: a new side effect of a common procedure. J Am Acad Dermatol,;51(5):774-7 (2004).
Babilas P, Shafirstein G, Bäumler W, Baier J, Landthaler M, Szeimies R and Abels C. Selective Photothermolysis of Blood Vessels following FPDL-Irradiation: in vivo Results and Mathematical Modelling are in Agreement. J Invest Dermatol 125:343 –352, (2005).
Wolfgang Baumler, Annegret Vogl, Michael Landthaler, Milton Waner and Gal Shafirstein. Port wine stain laser therapy and the computer-assisted modeling of vessel coagulation using the finite elements method. Medical Laser Application 20, 247–254, (2005).
Bäumler W, Ulrich H, Hartl A, Landthaler M and Shafirstein G. Optimal parameters for the treatment of leg veins using Nd:YAG lasers at 1064 nm. Br J Dermatol; 155(2):364-371, (2006).
V.Suzanne Klimberg, MD, Julie Kepple, MD., Gal Shafirstein, PhD, Laura Adkins, MS. Ronda Henry-Tillman, MD, Emad Youssef, MD, Lori Talley, BS, Soheila Korourian, MD. Excision Followed by RFA - A New Technique to Improve Local Control in Breast Cancer. Annals of Surgical Oncology. Ann Surg Oncol, 13: 1422-1433, (2006).
Mutlu Mete, Xiaowei Xu, Chun-Yang Fan and Gal Shafirstein, "Head and Neck Cancer Detection in Histopathological Slides," Sixth IEEE International Conference on Data Mining - Workshops (ICDMW'06), icdmw, pp. 223-230, (2006).
Bäumler W, Vural E, Landthaler M, Muzzi F and Shafirstein G. The effects of intense pulsed light (IPL) on blood vessels investigated by mathematical modeling. Lasers Surg Med; 39(2):132-9, (2007).
Shafirstein, G., Buckmiller, L. M., Waner, M., and Bäumler, W. Mathematical modeling of selective photothermolysis to aid the treatment of vascular malformations and hemangioma with pulsed dye laser. Lasers Med Sci. 22(2):111-8, (2007).
Babilas, P., G. Shafirstein, J. Baier, V. Schacht, R.M. Szeimies, M. Landthaler, W.Bäumler, and C. Abels. 2007. Photothermolysis of blood vessels using indocyanine green and pulsed diode laser irradiation in the dorsal skinfold chamber model. Lasers Surg Med. 39:341-352, (2007).
G. Shafirstein, L. Hennings, Y. Kaufmann, P. Novak, E. G. Moros, S. Ferguson, E. Siegel, S.V. Klimberg, MD, M. Waner and P. Spring. “Conductive Interstitial Thermal Therapy (CITT) Device Evaluation in VX2 Rabbit Model “, Technology in Cancer Research and Treatment, 6(3):235-46, (2007).
Mutlu Mete, Xiaowei Xu Chun-Yang Fan and Gal Shafirstein, “Automatic Delineation of Malignancy in Histopathological Head and Neck Slides”. BMC Bioinformatics, 8(Suppl 7) S7-S17, (2007)
G. Shafirstein, P. Novak, E. G. Moros, E. Siegel, L. Hennings, Y. Kaufmann, S. Ferguson, J. Myhill, M. Swaney, and P. Spring, Conductive interstitial thermal therapy device for surgical margin ablation: In vivo verification of a theoretical model. Int. J Hyperthermia 23, 477-92 (2007). (featured on the journal cover)
Vural E, Winfield HL, Shingleton AW, Horn TD and Shafirstein G. The Effects of Laser Irradiation on Trichophyton Rubrum Growth. Lasers Med Sci. 23(4): 349-53 (2008)
Guerrero, J.A., Shafirstein, G., Russell, S., Varughese, K.I., Kanaji, T., Liu, J., Gartner, T.K., Baumler, W., Jarvis, G.E., and Ware, J. In vivo relevance for platelet glycoprotein Iba residue Tyr276 in thrombus formation. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 6(4): 684-91 (2008).
Jeffrey Myhill, Wolfgang Bäumler, Leah Hennings, Edward D. Bearden, Lisa M. Buckmiller and Gal Shafirstein. The interaction of broadband intense pulsed light (IPL) and skin during a multi-pulse application. Medical Laser Application 23, 71–78 (2008). (featured on the journal cover)
Heidi Ulrich, Michael Landthaler, Gal Shafirstein and Wolfgang Bäumler, Efficacy of Nd:YAG laser treatment (1064 nm) of leg veins depends on the vessel diameter . Medical Laser Application 23 (3) 127–132 (2008).
Hennings L, Kaufmann Y, Griffin R, Siegel E, Novak P, Corry P, Moros EG, Shafirstein G. Dead or alive? Autofluorescence distinguishes heat-fixed from viable cells. Int J Hyperthermia. 25(5):.355-63, (2009). (featured on the journal cover)
Shafirstein G, Kaufmann Y, Hennings L, Siegel E, Griffin RJ, Novak P, Ferguson S, Moros EG. Conductive interstitial thermal therapy (CITT) inhibits recurrence and metastasis in rabbit VX2 carcinoma model. Int J Hyperthermia 25(6): 446-54. (2009).
Titushkin IA, Rao VS, Pickard WF, Moros EG, Shafirstein G, Cho MR. Altered calcium dynamics mediates P19-derived neuron-like cell responses to millimeter-wave radiation. Radiation Res.;172:725-736 (2009).
Pickard W, Moros EG and Shafirstein G. Electromagnetic and Thermal Evaluation of an Applicator Specialized to Permit High-Resolution Non-Perturbing Optical Evaluation of Cells Being Irradiated in the W-band. Bioelectromagnetics 31(2): 140-9 (2010).
Nahirnyak VM, Moros EG, PhD, Novák, P, Klimberg VS and Shafirstein G Doppler Signals Observed During High Temperature Thermal Ablation Are the Result of Boiling. Int J Hyperthermia, 26, 586-93 (2010).
G Shafirstein and EG Moros, Modelling millimeter wave propagation and absorption in a high
resolution skin model: the effect of sweat glands, Phys. Med. Biol. 56 1329-1339 (2011).
Chen X, Novak P; Benson, D G; W Jessica S; Hennings, L; Shafirstein, G; Corry, P; Griffin RJ and Moros, EG. An Alternating Focused Ultrasound System for Thermal Therapy Studies Using Small Animals, Medical Physics Vol. 38, No. 4, 1877-1887 (2011).
Chen Duo, Xia Rongmin, Chen Xin, Shafirstein Gal, Corry Peter, Griffin Robert J, Penagaricano Jose A, Tulunay ugur Ozlem E and Eduardo G Moros, “SonoKnife: Feasibility of a Line-Focused Ultrasound Device for Thermal Ablation Therapy", Medical Physics Vol. 38, No. 7,
Gal Shafirstein, Mauricio Moreno, Annette Klein, Eric Siegel, Philipp Babilas, Michael Landthaler and Wolfgang Baeumler.“Treatment of Leg Veins with Indocyanine Green and Lasers Investigated with Mathematical Modeling”, Int J Hyperthermia. 2011;27(8):771-81.
Gal Shafirstein, Adva Friedman, Eric Sigel MS, Mauricio Moreno, Wolfgang Bäumler, Chun-Yang Fan, Kimberly Morehead, Emre Vural, Brendan C Stack and James Y Suen. “Utilizing 5-Aminolevulinic Acid and Pulse Dye Laser for Photodynamic Therapy of Oral Leukoplakia.” Arch Otolaryngology Head Neck Surg. 2011 Nov;137(11):1117-23.
Hou F, Dai Y, Buckmiller LM, Shafirstein G, Fan CY, Saad AG, et al. A pilot in vivo model of human microcystic lymphatic malformations. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Dec;137(12):1280-5.
Beata D. Przybyla, Gal Shafirstein, Nathan Koonce, Jessica Webber & Robert J. Griffin, Conductive thermal ablation of 4T1 murine breast carcinoma reduces severe hypoxia in surviving tumour. Int. J Hyperthermia. 2012 March; 28(2): 156–162.
Shafirstein G, Bäumler W, Hennings LJ, Siegel ER, Friedman R, Moreno MA, Webber J, Jackson C, Griffin RJ. Indocyanine green enhanced near infrared laser treatment of murine mammary carcinoma. Int. J Cancer. 2012;130(5):1208-15.
Klein, A., W. Baumler, Koller M, Shafirstein G, Kohl EA, Landthaler M and Babilas P. "Indocyanine green-augmented diode laser therapy of telangiectatic leg veins: A randomized controlled proof-of-concept trial." Lasers Surg Med 2012;44(5): 369-76. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22022.
W. Baumler, U. Paasch, A. Klein,M. Landthaler, R. Friedman,& G. Shafirstein. “Intravenous injection of indocyanine green to enhance laser-assisted coagulation of blood vessels in skin – an animal study”. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology; 2013 Feb; 27(2):e206-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2012.04588.x
Brendan C. Stack Jr MD, John Ye DVM, PhD, Twyla B. Bartel DO, MBA, Gal Shafirstein DSc, Chien Chen MD, PhD, Eric Siegel MS, Bipin Singh PhD, Samta Thacker PhD, Val J. Lowe MD, Vivek Nagarkar PhD, Orthotopic VX rabbit tongue cancer model with FDG-PET and histologic characterization. 2013 Aug; 35(8):1119-23. doi: 10.1002/hed.23105.
Chen D, Xia R, Corry PM, Moros EG, Shafirstein G. SonoKnife for ablation of neck tissue: In vivo verification of a computer layered medium model. Int J Hyperthermia. 2012 Sep 5 2012;28(7):698-705. doi: 10.3109/02656736.2012.706730 PMID: 22946601
Nestor Rigual, Gal Shafirstein, Jennifer Frustino, Mukund Seshadri, Michele Cooper, Gregory Wilding, Maureen Sullivan and Barbara Henderson. Adjuvant Intraoperative Photodynamic Therapy in Head and Neck Cancer. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2013; 139(7):706-711. Doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2013.3387 [feature article].
Barnes KD, Shafirstein G, Webber JS, Koonce NA, Harris Z and Griffin RJ. Hyperthermia-enhanced indocyanine green delivery for laser-induced thermal ablation of carcinomas. Int J Hyperthermia. 2013 Aug; 29(5):474-9. doi: 10.3109/02656736.2013.817615.
Shafirstein, G. and Y. Feng (2013). "The role of mathematical modelling in thermal medicine." Int J Hyperthermia 29(4): 259-261.
Nestor Rigual, Gal Shafirstein, Michele T. Cooper, Heinz Baumann, David A. Bellnier, Ulas Sunar, Erin C. Tracy, Daniel J. Rohrbach, Gregory Wilding, Wei Tan, Maureen Sullivan, Mihai Merzianu and Barbara W. Henderson. Photodynamic Therapy with 3-(1'-hexyloxyethyl) pyropheophorbide a (HPPH) for Cancer of the Oral Cavity, Clin. Cancer Res 2013;19(23): 6605-13. [Highlighted Article]
Przybyla BD, Shafirstein G, Vishal SJ, Dennis RA, Griffin RJ. Molecular changes in bone marrow, tumor and serum after conductive ablation of murine 4T1 breast carcinoma. . Int J Oncol 2014, 44(2): 600-608.
Oakley, E., Wrazen, B., Bellnier, D.A., Syed, Y., Arshad, H. & Shafirstein, G. A new finite element approach for near real-time simulation of light propagation in locally advanced head and neck tumors. Lasers Surg Med 47, 60-67 (2015).
Shafirstein, G., Rigual, N.R., Arshad, H., Cooper, M.T., Bellnier, D.A., Wilding, G., Tan, W., Merzianu, M. & Henderson, B.W. Photodynamic Therapy with 3-(1'-hexyloxyethyl) pyropheophorbide a (HPPH) for Early Stage Cancer of the Larynx- Phase Ib Study. Head Neck. 2016 Apr;38 Suppl 1:E377-83
N.A. Koonce, X. Chen, E.G. Moros, G. Shafirstein, P. Corry, R.J. PET and MRI-guided focused ultrasound surgery for hypoxic-tissue ablation combined with radiotherapy in solid tumors. International Journal of Radiation Research. 2015, 13(1): 1-12.
Shafirstein G, Battoo A, Harris KE, Baumann H, Gollnick SO, Lindenmann J, Nwogu CE. Photodynamic Therapy of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Narrative Review and Future Directions. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2016 Feb;13(2):265-75.