This week we welcome another very important senior member to our team -- Parvesh Kumar, MD. As professor and chair of the department of radiation oncology, cancer program director, and senior associate dean for clinical research, Dr. Kumar will be in charge of the medical school's research efforts and cancer program. He's an outstanding radiation oncologist with a strong national reputation for building academic radiation oncology departments and cancer research programs.
As the lead of our research team, Dr. Kumar will help the medical school build quality programs in cancer, behavioral health and addiction, neuroscience, orthopedics, and develop the infrastructure for clinical and translational research.
Clinical research is direct research on patients and includes clinical trials of new drugs and therapies. Basic research leads to information on the causes of diseases and usually involves laboratory research. Translational research connects the basic to the clinical research, it is the in-between step, also referred to as "bench to bedside" research. In diabetes, for instance, it might be the development of a new insulin pump that needs to be tested with patients to ensure it works. In cancer, it might be the testing of a new drug in animal models and then working out the dosing to begin the first clinical trials in humans.
Dr. Kumar will be setting up several different research and clinical programs necessary to bring a variety of National Institute of Health (NIH) funded research projects to Nevada. NIH funds a variety of federal research grants. Our goal over the next 10 years is to receive approximately $50 million in externally funded research annually. Ultimately, we want to pursue becoming a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center. The first step is to develop a 15-year plan for growth of the program, present the application to an internal UNLV committee for approval, and then to the Board of Regents for final approval of the center. This process will take about six months, to actually achieve NCI-designation will take at least 15 years.
I'm extremely confident in Dr. Kumar's abilities and expertise. I recruited him to the University of Kansas (KU) School of Medicine in 2010 as the associate director of clinical research for the University of Kansas Cancer Center. Dr. Kumar was key in helping KU become the 66th NCI-designated cancer center in the nation two years later. He also was recruited as the chair of radiation oncology where he grew the radiation oncology faculty from four to 27, the radiation oncology facilities from one to seven to increase access to clinical trials and patient care, and total patient consultations tripled from about 1,000 to over 3,000 per year.
Prior to joining KU, his alma mater, Dr. Kumar had been the founding chair of the department of radiation oncology at the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine (RWJMS) in New Jersey, where he also served as the associate director of radiation oncology for the Cancer Institute of New Jersey at RWJMS. I first met him in 2004 when I took a trip to Los Angeles to meet alumni of the University of Kansas School of Medicine. At that time he was the new chair of the department of radiation oncology at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, but the first thing I asked him was whether he wanted to come back to his alma mater, KU. At the time he didn't, but later on as we were recruiting again, he came to Kansas. Now I'm happy to say he's in Las Vegas to build amazing research and cancer programs.