Parvesh Kumar, M.D.
Professor and Principal Investigator, Mountain West CTR-IN
Dr. Parvesh Kumar, who joined the UNLV School of Medicine in February 2016, has a national reputation for establishing and building academic departments of radiation oncology and clinical research programs. At UNLV, he serves as a tenured professor and Principal Investigator of the Mountain West (MW) Clinical Translational Research Infrastructure Network (CTR-IN) Program.
Dr. Kumar has impressive achievements throughout his extensive career in medicine. In 1998, at age 38, he became the founding chair of a new radiation oncology department at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) in New Brunswick, New Jersey. In that capacity, he built the department’s research, clinical, and administrative infrastructure, expanded the program from 1 to 3 facilities, recruited 8 new faculty members, and significantly increased the department’s patient volume and clinical research activities. Dr. Kumar also served as the Associate Cancer Center Director for Radiation Oncology for the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center at Rutgers RWJMS. NCI designation is the highest recognition for a cancer center, opening doors to expanded research funding, and bringing the most advanced cancer care to patients. Only 4 percent of all cancer centers in the U.S. are NCI designated cancer centers.
Dr. Kumar was recruited to be a tenured Professor and Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Southern California (USC), Keck School of Medicine (KSOM), Los Angeles, California, and Chief of Service for the LA County (LAC) – USC Medical Center. During his seven year tenure at USC KSOM, he expanded its research and clinical programs, doubled the size of the physics division, recruited several radiation oncologists, and significantly increased the program’s patient volume. He also oversaw the design and construction of a brand new department of radiation oncology at the LAC-USC Medical Center. He also founded and initiated the Los Angeles city-wide radiation oncology “mock” oral board examination for all of the residents in training in collaboration with UC Irvine, UCLA, Kaiser Permanente and Vantage Oncology.
In 2010, Dr. Kumar was recruited to his alma mater, the University of Kansas School of Medicine (KU SOM), where he was tenured Professor, and Chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology, as well as Associate Director of Clinical Research for the University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC), a NCI designated Cancer Center. While Chair at KU SOM, he rebuilt the department of radiation oncology from one of the smallest to one of the largest programs in the U.S. by increasing the size of the faculty from 4 to 28 faculty members, expanding the number of radiotherapy facilities from 1 to 7, while virtually tripling the program’s patient volume. The program’s resident 5-year American Board of Radiology (ABR) first time pass rate was also significantly improved from 0% in 2009, prior to his arrival, to 100% from 2013-2015.
As Associate Director of Clinical Research, Dr. Kumar was one of the key members of the Cancer Center’s leadership team, along with Drs. Barbara Atkinson (Executive Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean) and Roy Jensen (Director, Cancer Center), that was instrumental in gaining NCI cancer center designation by the KUCC in 2012. Dr. Kumar will bring that experience to bear at UNLV School of Medicine, where he will be ultimately responsible for developing and establishing an NCI-designated cancer center.
An accomplished researcher, Dr. Kumar has a track record of extramural grant funding by conducting several investigator initiated clinical trials. In addition, he has led several national cooperative group clinical trials in lung cancer, head and neck tumors and prostate cancer. He is a pioneer in the use of concurrent chemotherapy (docetaxel) with radiation in patients with locally advanced high-risk prostate cancer. He conducted the first Phase I clinical trial of concurrent docetaxel with radiation therapy, which established safe doses of this drug for use with radiation in patients with high-risk prostate cancer. The Food and Drug Administration later approved Docetaxel for metastatic prostate cancer.
At UNLV, Dr. Kumar also serves as the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Mountain West (MW) Clinical Translational Research Infrastructure Network (CTR-IN) Program since April 2016. The MW CTR-IN Program is a consortium of 13 Mountain West universities which is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) through a U-54 Grant for developing, establishing, and increasing research capacity in the Mount West region. Recently, in August 2018, Dr. Kumar was instrumental in achieving the renewal of the MW CTR-IN grant for $20 million for another 5 years. The MW CTR-IN grant is the largest federally funded research grant at UNLV and in the State of Nevada.
Beyond his success as a researcher, Dr. Kumar is very proud of is his involvement with patients. “I’ve been fortunate to treat and cure a lot of patients. Over the years I’ve managed to stay in touch with many of these patients and some of them have become close friends.” He has been recognized by his peers as one of the “Best Doctors” in the United States every year since 2005.