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Buffalo Niagara Life Sciences Ambassador
Dr. Khurshid A. Guru, Associate Professor of Urology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute & Director of the Roswell Park Center for Robotic Surgery
In August 2004, Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) became the first facility in the Buffalo-Niagara region to offer state-of-the-art robotic surgical technology. In less than three years, the number of robotic operations for kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer at RPCI increased from 50 to 95% of such procedures. This minimally invasive surgical option, once offered to only urology patients, quickly became a viable, attractive option for many patients with gynecologic, thoracic and gastrointestinal cancers and some non-cancerous conditions. Today, RPCI is a Center of Excellence for robot-assisted surgery. RPCI surgeons have performed more than 1,500 robot-assisted surgeries. Surgical teams from around the globe come to Buffalo to develop and improve their skills under the guidance of RPCI’s robotic surgery experts. RPCI is the first center in the world to create a “video-based textbook” on robotic surgery.
Dr. Khurshid A. Guru, Associate Professor in the Department of Urology at RPCI and Director of the Roswell Park Center for Robotic Surgery, was recruited in 2005. Dr. Guru completed a fellowship in robot-assisted surgery under Dr. Mani Menon, considered the “father of robotic surgery,” at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and has pioneered advanced robot-assisted surgical techniques. Dr. Guru, along with Thenkurussi “Kesh” Kesavadas, PhD, professor of mechanical engineering at the University at Buffalo, founded the spin-off company Simulated Surgical Systems LLC (SSS).
In 2007, Dr. Guru and his family started a non profit foundation that works in the northern Himalayan region of the Indian subcontinent – Kashmir. Working in collaboration with the Breast Cancer Center and Department of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at Roswell Park, The Guru Foundation brings medical care, education and public-health-related services to the Kashmiri people. Drs. Stephen Edge and Deborah Erwin from RPCI have helped to establish a women’s health initiative there that encourages breast cancer awareness and provides education about things like breast self-examination and water-related hygiene – as well as eye care, through the Vision for All program. Dr. Samina Raja, Associate Professor in of the UB School of Architecture and Planning, whose expertise in urban planning is also helping to build a foundation for better public health in the region. The Guru Foundation also collaborates with Randforce Associates at the UB Technology Incubator. Dr. Michael Frisch, UB Professor of History and American Studies, and his team are developing an oral history program for Kashmir. This searchable audio database will be part of a web-based archive that will house more than 500 out-of-print books, manuscripts, documents and paintings about this mountainous region.
Q. What Life Sciences organizations, events, or campaigns do you personally participate in?
Q. What do you think are Buffalo Niagara’s greatest strengths & assets as they relate to the Life Sciences industry?
Q. How is robotic surgery changing the way we treat cancer and how is Roswell Park leading this shift?
Q. What collaboration work, if any do you or the Robotic Surgery Center participate in?
Q. What is your outlook for the growth of the Life Sciences industry, especially robotic surgery, in Buffalo Niagara over the next 5-10 years?
On the robotics front, as we continue to lead the development of new procedures for robot-assisted surgery, helping surgeons across the globe to safely learn these skills via our surgical team at Roswell Park and our innovative collaboration with the UB School of Engineering, the Robotic Surgery Center and SSS are going to keep developing mutually beneficial partnerships with businesses all over the world.