Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dr. Leonard B. Kaban Honored for Excellence in Clinical Research

Dr. Leonard B. Kaban receives Norton M. Ross Award from American Dental Association

Dr. Leonard B. Kaban and Walter C. Guralnick Chair of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM), was honored by the American Dental Association (ADA) for his distinguished record of research and its impact on patient care.  In receiving the Norton M. Ross Award for Excellence in Clinical Research, Dr. Kaban was only the second oral and maxillofacial surgeon to receive this honor in the history of the award.

Dr. Kaban is recognized for his pioneering research in pediatric oral surgery--most notably the treatment of craniofacial deformities and jaw tumors in children.  His work has vastly improved the diagnosis and treatment of major oral and craniofacial diseases.  In particular, his work has changed the way surgeons approach deformities and abnormalities in growing patients, making it possible to treat younger patients with smaller operations that provide better physical and psychological outcomes. Most recently, his advancements in distraction osteogenesis allow surgical treatment for many deformities to be corrected with minimally invasive procedures.  Reflecting upon Dr. Kaban's work, Dr. Bruce Donoff, dean of HSDM, remarked, "One has only to see a youngster treated with distraction, who no longer is dependent upon tracheotomy for breathing, to appreciate this advancement."

Another area where Dr. Kaban has improved the outlook and outcomes for patients is in the area of giant cell tumors of the jaws.  Following the discovery of angiogenesis by the late Dr. Judah Folkman, Dr. Kaban brought a 6-year old patient with recurrent giant cell tumor of the jaw to Dr. Folkman as a candidate for antiangiogenic therapy.  "I had thought for years that giant cell tumors of the jaws were vascular-proliferative tumors that stimulate blood vessel formation," said Dr. Kaban.  After a history of traditional treatments failed to curtail the tumor's growth, the antiangiogenic therapy cured the child's tumor.  This was the first instance of a solid tumor's being treated with interferon.

In nominating Dr. Kaban for this honor, Dr. Donoff reflected on the body of Dr. Kaban's work as "testimony to his dedication to discovery in the interest of improved patient care.  [He] is a surgeon's surgeon, a scholar's scholar and an inspiration to all who are fortunate to come under his influence." 

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