60-second interview with Professor Iain McNeish, Chair of the NCRI Gynaecological Clinical Studies Group
Professor Iain McNeish, Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at the Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow and recently appointed Chair of the NCRI Gynaecological Clinical Studies Group (CSG), tells us about his career in cancer research so far, his new role as a CSG Chair and the challenges ahead.
How/why did you get in to science?
I realised that I wanted to be an oncologist whilst I was a very junior doctor working in a lung cancer team. I also realised then that I wanted to be an academic, so I undertook a PhD immediately after finishing my junior hospital jobs – my project involved developing novel gene therapies for ovarian cancer. At that point, I was hooked – I found ovarian cancer fascinating and I still do nearly 20 years later.
What have you been working on most recently?
The central theme of research in my lab is to understand the biology of ovarian cancer within the unique space where it grows, the peritoneal cavity. So, half of the team are working on viral therapies, in particular how viruses kill malignant cells and interact with the immune system in the peritoneal cavity. The others are looking at how ovarian cancer evolves within the peritoneal cavity as it relapses and becomes resistant to chemotherapy.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role as Chair of the NCRI Gynaecological CSG?
Helping to develop the next series of trials in gynaecological cancer – and through these trials, I hope, help to change practice for these cancers both within the UK and internationally.
What do you perceive to be the biggest challenges in gynaecological cancer research?
Gynaecological cancers are individually relatively rare, although collectively common. And we now realise that the subtypes are completely different from each other, especially in ovarian and endometrial cancers, and are likely to need their own trials. So, the biggest challenge will be ensuring that we are running scientifically relevant trials that can be opened in many centres and that we can recruit to.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Riding my bike, climbing hills, making ice cream (and then eating it!) and listening to music.
If you could choose one piece of art (film/play/book/music) that you love, what would it be?
The Ring by Richard Wagner
For more information on the NCRI CSGs, including lists of Group members, portfolio maps of cancer clinical trials in the UK and more, visit the NCRI CSG website.