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Roswell Park Cancer Institute has established a center for the treatment of patients with cancers related to viruses, including the one that causes AIDS.

The Center for HIV-related Malignancies will offer a half-dozen experimental treatments for such cancers as Kaposi's sarcoma, malignant non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma and Hodgkin's disease.

Viral infections are linked to about 15 percent of cancers worldwide, according to the institute.

They range from hepatitis B, which can play a role in the development of a form of liver cancer, to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Other viruses linked to cancers include Epstein-Barr and human papilloma.

HIV is associated with a handful of cancers, including Kaposi's sarcoma.

The rare cancer of the skin most often found in elderly men of Italian or Eastern European Jewish origin today is considered an early diagnostic feature of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Roswell Park has been providing care to AIDS patients and others with cancers associated with viruses.

Establishment of the center is an attempt to formalize that care into an organized program and attract more patients.

The institute has the facilities and expertise to offer the therapy these patients need, said Dr. Zale P. Bernstein, director of the center.

Several of the current protocols use photodynamic therapy, a treatment pioneered at Roswell Park that uses a laser and light-sensitive drug to destroy tumors.

In 1994, U.S. News & World Report ranked Roswell Park among the top 25 hospitals in the nation for the treatment of HIV-infected patients.

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