Associate Director for Clinical Research Stephen Howell
Stephen Howell, MD
Professor of Medicine
The holder of this senior post has reporting lines to the Deputy Directors for Research and Clinical Oncology, with accountability to the Center Director. The position has the responsibility for leading and coordinating research activities in the Programs constituting the Division of Clinical Research (Hematologic Malignancies and Cancer Symptom Control), as well as the program he co-leads with David Cheresh, called Solid Tumor Therapeutics (formerly Tumor Growth, Invasion and Metastasis). This individual is specifically assigned the duty of facilitating and promoting research interactions and collaborations within the Division. He helps the Center Director to review the clinical scientific component of the Center and to implement improvements that would benefit the work of the Members. He is a member of the Senior Leaders Council, and participates in shaping Center policies to achieve greater integration of the work of its three Divisions towards the goal of fostering research for the ultimate benefit of cancer patients.
In addition, this associate director:
- Advises the Center Director
- Confers with the Deputy Director, Research Operations and the Deputy Director, Clinical Oncology, to develop ways to promote inter-divisional interactions
- Advises the Leaders of those Shared Resources most commonly used by clinical science researchers (Flow Cytometry, Histology) of potential opportunities to enhance services
- Identifies timely new and relevant shared resource service opportunities
- Advises on prioritization of shared equipment to be purchased for clinical science projects in the Center
- Seeks out faculty whose cancer-relevant research would benefit by membership in the Center, and whose contribution to it would benefit the research effort of the whole enterprise
- Reviews new member applications and level of membership based upon the formal criteria outlined by the Center Director
- Interacts with the appropriate Leader regarding the programmatic placement of new members
- Organizes Divisional Retreats
- Acts as the leadership conduit by which programmatic needs can gain support from available Center resources.
Howell also serves as the principal faculty liaison with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and has an accomplished record of both laboratory-based and clinical trails research. He is an expert in molecular mechanisms of drug resistance and has pioneered several novel pharmacologically-based strategies for increasing drug delivery to the tumor. The first of these was intraperitoneal chemotherapy for ovarian cancer; Howell and his colleagues at UCSD completed the initial pharmacokinetic, Phase I, II and III trials of what has now become standard therapy for ovarian cancer patients. Another is the RADPLAT program of intra-arterial cisplatin-based therapy for head and neck carcinoma. He has completed and published more than 25 Phase I and PK/PD trials.
He has also developed novel methods for drug delivery, having invented, with colleague Sinil Kim, MD, a biodegradable foam (DepoFoam) that can that can be used to create depot forms of drugs for slow release over days to weeks from the site of injection. Howell founded a biotechnology company to commercialize this technology and two products (DepoCyt, slow-release cytarabine for intrathecal injection for neoplastic meningitis; DepoDur, slow-release morphine for epidural injection) are now on the market. He is also involved in the development of several new tumor-targeting drug delivery systems, one of which is now in clinical trials.