News 12 This Morning at 6 o'clock// Monday, February 9th, 2011
AUGUSTA, GA --- There is a new man in charge of the Georgia Health Sciences Cancer Research Center, and he is hoping to bring some national recognition to the center.
Only one week on the job, and Dr. Samir Khelif, the new director, has some lofty goals. "The intention is to put GHSU cancer center on the national map, to make GHSU a resource for not only the region, Augusta or the state but beyond that," said Dr. Khleif.
His interests are in cancer vaccines and he also built the first cancer center in the Middle East. Now, at GHSU he's hoping to attract top notch scientists, have teams work on specialized clinical trials and therapies for patients that are only available through the cancer research center.
He's also after one more thing: a national cancer center institute designation. "This is a phenomenal move it will give lots of push to the center," he added.
The research center already receives about $7 million dollars in funding from the National Cancer Institute. Georgia governor Nathan Deal has committed another $5 million from next year's state budget, but with a designation from the NCI the center could see millions more.
"There are lots of others opportunities in the future to be able to apply for as a designated cancer center," Dr. Khleif added. "It will be an attraction to get more scientists."
He's also looking to bring more of the science to you. "If they need to know about the disease, need to know about prevention, we will probably establish a telephone number where people can call to find out information," Dr. Khleif explained.
There is still a lot of work to be done to make it all happen, but with state of the art science he's hoping to make the cancer research center your first stop for knowledge on cancer.
Dr. Khleif says the NCI designation will take somewhere between 5 to 8 years, but the end result is more people in the community will want to stay here use this facility as opposed to going to a bigger city, like Atlanta.