Laser Center to Expand Services, Facilities to Researchers, Physicians In WNY And Ontario

By Mary Beth Spina

Release Date: July 21, 1994 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A comprehensive, multi-facility laser "center without walls," headquartered at the University at Buffalo, promises to make available expanded services and state-of-the art facilities to researchers and clinicians in Western New York and Ontario.

The Great Lakes Biomedical Laser Institute features laser equipment, scientists and clinicians at eight locations who are devoted to the use of the laser as a valuable tool in diagnosis and treatment of a variety of cancers, says Charles Liebow, D.M.D., Ph.D., professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery in the UB School of Dental Medicine and director of the new center.

Nationally recognized for his research and treatment of precancerous and malignant lesions in the oral cavity using the laser as a surgical tool, Liebow notes it is only within the past 30 years that lasers such as the carbon-dioxide and the Neodynium: Yttrium Aluminium Garnet (Nd:YAG) have gained acceptance in the medical and dental professions to safely remove lesions in the body.

Even more recently, researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute demonstrated the non-cutting argon-driven red-dye laser activates the drug Photofrin, which they developed, to target and kill cancer cells without harming surrounding normal tissue.

"Neither the red-dye laser nor Photofrin alone can achieve this result," says Liebow, who has used the technique in animal research.

Researchers at some of the member centers are using the combination laser-Photofrin therapy under special license experimentally and clinically for other animal and human malignancies. Others are concentrating on the surgical benefits of the carbon dioxide and Nd:YAG lasers.

In the future, Liebow predicts certain lasers could be used selectively to vaporize decayed tooth structure, decrease the permeability of dentin and demineralize tooth surfaces.

"Lasers look promising alone, or in tandem with drugs sensitizers like Photofrin, to provide clinicians alternative and effective treatment for many lesions, both precancerous and malignant," he says.

Participating facilities and scientists in the Great Lakes Biomedical Laser Institute are Liebow, Thomas Mang, Ph.D., and Robert Braun, D.D.S., all in the UB School of Dental Medicine; Jean G. Haar, M.D., and Michael Haar, M.D., UB Division of Otolaryngology at The Buffalo General Hospital; P.C. Cheng, Ph.D., UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Laboratory for Laser Optics; John Featherstone, Ph.D., Eastman Dental Center, Rochester; Raymond Lanzafame, M.D., Rochester General Hospital Laser Center; Wolf Seka, Ph.D., University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics; Mang and Thomas Dougherty, Ph.D., Roswell Park Cancer Institute Photodynamic Therapy Laboratory, and Brian C. Wilson, Ph.D., Ontario Cancer Institute, Toronto.