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Research 1: R1-101


Interstitial photodynamic therapy (I-PDT) has shown promise in the treatment of locally advanced cancer. In the USA, photodynamic therapy with Photofrin® is approved for the treatment of lung and esophageal cancers. Several clinical studies have suggested that I-PDT with Photofrin® is also safe for the treatment of locally advanced head neck cancer (LAHNC). The primary objective of I-PDT was to alleviate the pain and symptoms caused by LAHNC. In an effort to improve its local tumor control with potential cure, we developed a customized finite element modeling (FEM) approach to study the response to I-PDT.

This talk will begin by presenting the principles of I-PDT. I will describe how our FEM was developed and validated. I will present how the FEM approach was used to identify the critical parameters that control the response of locally advanced cancer to I-PDT, and how these findings were used to develop a hypothesis that was tested in preclinical studies, i.e. moving from the clinic to the bench. The design and results from the preclinical studies will be presented. I will present a new unexpected finding that was discovered during the preclinical studies. This finding was investigated with rigorous experimental work in conjunction with FEM to achieve high cure rates in one animal model and was then successfully translated to another model. These results are now being used to develop a clinical study, taking the research from the bench back to the clinic

Biography: Prof. Gal Shafirstein earned his B.Sc. in the Department of Materials Science at the Ben-Gurion University (1986), his M.Sc. (1988) and D.Sc. (1992) in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He then moved to England to work at the United Kingdom National Physical Laboratory (1992-1995), and to Israel and USA to work in industry (1995-2001). He returned to academia in 2001, and joined the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where he was an Associate Prof. and the Director of Translational Research. In 2012, he was recruited as a full Prof. of Oncology and Member at the Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) Center of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY. The PDT Center at Roswell Park is a world leader in the field of PDT. RPCCC is where modern PDT was initiated in 1970s', and the first FDA approved PDT drug for cancer therapy was developed. Prof. Shafirstein serves as the director of PDT Clinical Research since 2015. He is responsible for developing and supporting multiple clinical studies in PDT. His research is supported, primarily, with competitive awards from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health, USA. His research focuses on developing laser therapies for patients with cancer that have no good treatment options.


Prof. Gal Shafirstein

Photodynamic Therapy Center

Department of Cell Stress Biology

Roswell Park Comprehensive
Cancer Center
Buffalo, New York

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Light refreshments will be served


Yajie Dong NanoScience Technology Center