Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Healthcare Innovation

Roswell Park Cancer InstituteOn April 30th, a cool, rainy spring afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus [BNMC]. The tour, arranged by Buffalo Niagara 360, was intended to expose business executives and professionals to the medical innovation taking place in the Buffalo/Niagara region.

The event participants gathered in Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s [RPCI] Zebro Conference Center. Ann Mestrovich, the tour organizer welcomed the group. There were a total of three “tour guides”, including Pat Whalen, the COO of the BNMC, Karen Utz of the NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and Lisa Damiani, the Executive Director of Government Affairs at RPCI.

Check out the video where Pat Whalen and Michael Ball talk about the BNMC:


Buffalo Niagara 360: Featured Members – BNMC, Buffalo BioSciences, Kinex Pharmaceuticals

The RPCI Tour

We broke off into three groups. I joined Lisa Damiani’s group to tour RPCI. As we made our way through various corridors, Lisa provided an overview of RPCI. The group shuffled into the Photodynamic Therapy [PDT] Lab. Here, Dr. Sandra Gollnick explained the origins and applications of this innovative therapy, including effectively treating lung, skin, and breast cancer, to name a few.

We returned to RPCI’s Center for Genetics and Pharmacology, the distinctive five-floor building with the textured and sculptural exterior. As we walked, Lisa explained the architecture incorporated bends in corridors and open spaces to emphasize the nature of science and discovery. We learned the building uses 30% less energy by separating the large, noisy, heat-producing equipment from the “wet” labs, the modular benches where the scientists conduct experiments. I really felt the design of the building encouraged an open, collaborative environment—a place where you know great things are happening.

To see for yourself how much fun we had, check out the tour recap video by Full Circle Studios:


Buffalo Niagara 360: BNMC Tour Recap

The Takeaway

Here are a few interesting facts I picked up:

  • As a whole, BNMC institutions employ more than 25,000 people in WNY
  • There are 9 major institutions and more than 20 life sciences companies on the BNMC
  • Pioneered by RPCI, Photodynamic Therapy is now used world-wide
  • UPDATE: Over the last 20 years, PDT has generated $20M in patent royalties for RPCI
  • Patients travel from all over the world to be treated by PDT
  • Dr. Ravindra K. Pandey is developing the next generation of PDT which will have fewer side effects

Wow. I am truly excited about the healthcare innovations taking place here in the Buffalo/Niagara region.

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