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Researcher Touts Cancer Fighting Tool, UB and Roswell Park Awarded $7 Million in New Grants

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The Roswell Park Cancer Institute's experience with a tool known as the "Gamma Knife" was shared with cancer specialists from around the world at a conference in Denver this past weekend. Dr. Dheerendra Prasad, director of Neuro- and Pediatric Radiation Medicine at the Institute, said Roswell Park has already upgraded to the latest version of the Gamma Knife, one of only two cancer centers in the nation to do so. Prasad said the upgrade has even more life-saving potential.

"We are not going only on the basis of the appearance of tumors on MRIs and cat-scans. We're actually looking at their function. Therefore, we can target those areas of a tumor that are most likely to represent growth potential and become a problem for the patient," Prasad said.

This past weekend, Prasad was in Denver for the annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology where he discussed his success at incorporating radiosurgery into mainstream cancer treatment.

"There's great interest not just in acquiring Gamma Knives at centers where one is not available but in upgrading older versions of the Gamma Knife following our example at Roswell Park," Prasad said.

Since 1998, 1,200 people have undergone surgery at Roswell Park's Gamma Knife Center. Success rates range from 60 to 90 percent.

On Monday, the University at Buffalo and Roswell Park received grants from the National Cancer Institute for pioneering research into a new generation of cancer diagnostics and treatments based on nanotechnology.

Researchers at the two institutions will receive nearly $7 million over the next five years.

UB President John Simpson says the federal funding is "tremendously significant" and will allow both UB and Roswell Park to play "a more meaningful role" in the fight against cancer.