A/Prof Jim Coward is an experienced medical oncologist and phase I lead clinician at Icon Cancer Centre. He is Chair of Icon’s Medical Oncology Research Committee and also an Associate Professor of Medicine at UQ School of Medicine and Mater Research, TRI. With more than 20 years of clinical oncology experience, A/Prof Coward is heavily invested in providing cutting-edge medicines through a growing phase I research portfolio, with a focus on immunotherapy-based clinical trials for all solid tumour types with a particular interest in gynaecological cancers. Through his dedication to research he continues to play an integral part in the ongoing development of new emerging treatments.
In 1998 he completed medical training at the Imperial College School of Medicine in London and became a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 2002. His interest in the field of oncology began during his tenure as a junior doctor and he subsequently undertook specialist registrar training at Westmead Hospital, Sydney and Royal Marsden Hospital, London. In 2006 A/Prof Coward was appointed as an MRC clinical fellow at the Barts Cancer Institute, London, where his research on the effects of immunotherapy in advanced ovarian cancer successfully translated into a clinical trial in patients with platinum resistant disease. This work culminated in a PhD award from Queen Mary University London in 2010, cementing his desire to dedicate his career to cancer research.
A/Prof Coward is actively involved in several high calibre international research collaborations with clinicians and scientists within prominent international cancer institutes. He has over 50 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters with numerous citations in leading scientific and clinical journals. Alongside his continuing supervision of clinical trainees and PhD students, A/Prof Coward is a regular invited speaker at national conferences and international conferences.
As a passionate advocate of gynaecological cancer research, he often dedicates his time to speaking at charity events and public forums and proactively seeks to increase public awareness about ovarian cancer. In 2019 he established Queensland’s first cancer support group for women with ovarian cancer. In April 2021 findings from an ovarian cancer phase I trial led by A/Prof Coward were published in Cancers and presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting plenary session. The study was found to prolong survival in advanced ovarian cancer by inducing ovarian cancer stem cells’ death and making the cells more sensitive to standard chemotherapy. He is currently developing a follow-up phase II study which aims to identify biomarkers on these stem cells so more ovarian cancer patients can have improved outcomes today and into the future.