JING Alumni interview: Rowan Miller, Barts ECMC

09 Jul 2024
This month we spoke to Dr Rowan Miller as part of our series of interviews with JING alumni. Rowan is a medical oncology consultant specialising in gynaeoncology and early phase clinical trials at University College London and St. Bartholomew's hospitals. Rowan attended the JING: Training the Next Generation event in 2016 and shared how feedback she received at that meeting helped in her developing her trial.
Can you give us a brief summary of your career?
I am a medical oncology consultant specialising in gynaeoncology and early phase clinical trials, working at University College London and St Bartholomew’s hospitals. My undergraduate training was at the University of Oxford and clinical training at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals. I trained in medical oncology at University College London Hospital and was awarded a Cancer Research UK Fellowship and attained a PhD at the Institute of Cancer Research. My PhD was evaluating novel therapies for clear cell ovarian cancer, a topic which I remain interested in. I am currently PI of several gynaeoncology and early phase trials and am involved with translational research across both sites. I was a member of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Personalized Medicine and Translational Research Committee and led their consensus recommendation paper on HRD testing in ovarian cancer and have co-authored several other ESMO guidelines including NGS testing in cancer, MSI testing for immunotherapy and the recent ovarian cancer clinical guidelines. I am serving on the ESMO 2025 Scientific Committee for the Developmental therapeutics programme. 
You attended the JING:Training the Next Generation (TNG) event in 2016, what was your highlight of the day?
It was great to get feedback from so many experts on trial design and feasibility. This resulted in some fundamental changes to my study proposal, which were incorporated into the final design. A second highlight was networking with other investigators from around the country at a similar stage in their careers. This has led to many ongoing collaborations.
At the 2023 TNG event, you gave a presentation on the study you had brought to the TNG event in 2016; could you give a few examples of how the feedback you received helped you in developing your trial?
The study I originally presented was a multi-arm phase I/II study for patients with advanced clear cell gynaecological cancers. A more simplified design was suggested, switching to a single arm phase II study to study efficacy and determine feasibility in a rare tumour population. I also received invaluable advice on possible funding options. The trial was further developed, incorporating most of the suggestions received. We then successfully applied for an MSD investigator sponsored study grant. The PEACOCC (Pembrolizumab in Patients with Advanced Clear Cell Gynaecological Cancer) trial opened in 2018 and completed recruitment in 2022. Results were presented at ESMO 2023 and the final manuscript is under review. 
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career so far?
“although medicine is thought of as a scientific pursuit, try and always approach your roles with creativity - this pushes you to think outside the box and come with innovate solutions – be this for better patient care or interesting research ideas”
What advice would you give to the 2024 JING Cohort?
Perseverance is key to getting a study of the ground. Don’t be upset with initial rejection(s). Take every opportunity for advice and if the study idea is good, you will be successful!