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UR Medical Center Radiation Oncology Chief Leads Cooperative Research Committee

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Paul Okunieff, M.D., chair of radiation oncology at the University of Rochester Medical Center's James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, was named chair of the Southwest Oncology Group's Radiation Oncology Committee. He will lead the clinical and basic science research of all radiation therapy studies through SWOG, the largest National Cancer Institute cooperative research group in North America.

"This is an opportunity to shape future cancer treatment and to refine the role that radiation can play in improving cancer cures," Okunieff said. He will pursue further study of techniques to preserve normal tissue during tumor destruction.

The appointment places Okunieff on the SWOG Steering Committee, joining Richard I. Fisher, M.D., director, James P. Wilmot Cancer Center and director, cancer services for Strong Health. Fisher is chair of the Lymphoma Committee.

Okunieff is director of the Robert J. Flavin Shaped Beam Surgery Center at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, which develops cutting-edge techniques for the use of shaped-beam radiosurgery in destroying tumors. He joined the University in 1997 and was previously chair of the National Cancer Institute's Radiation Oncology Branch.

A graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical College, he completed his residency and fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital. Okunieff also chairs the Translational Research Committee of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, a separate cooperative research organization.

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