Associate Director for Research Education and Training Stephen Howell

Associate Director Stephen Howell

Stephen Howell, MD
Professor of Medicine

Stephen B. Howell, MD, joined the UC San Diego School of Medicine faculty in 1977 as a founding member of the cancer center. He is a tenured Professor of Medicine with more than 35 years of experience as a principal investigator in basic science, translational research, and both investigator-initiated and industry-initiated clinical research. Dr. Howell is a medical oncologist and pharmacologist and is an attending physician on the oncology consult service at Thornton Hospital. He has extensive experience in drug development in both the academic and the industrial settings.

Dr. Howell is the founder of three pharmaceutical companies, and has taken technology invented in his laboratory all the way through development – obtaining a new application for the drug, now marketed as DepoCyt, for the treatment of neoplastic meningitis. The same technology has been used to create a slow-release form of bupivicaine (Experel.) Over the past 30 years, he has been a leader in the field of platinum drug pharmacology, both clinical and cellular. Dr. Howell pioneered the use of intraperitoneal injection of cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug, for ovarian cancer. He has contributed more than 100 papers on the mechanisms by which tumor cells acquire resistance to platinum-containing drugs.

Over the past decade, Dr. Howell has focused on understanding the cellular pharmacology of platinum drugs, a class of chemotherapy drugs that trigger cell death in cancerous tumors, and the development of additional drug delivery systems for platinum-containing chemotherapeutic agents. Two polymer-based systems have entered phase I trials and one has advanced into phase II. Current drug delivery projects involve refinement of the use of nanoparticle systems for targeting of these drugs to tumors, and particles made up of silica and silicon are now in preclinical investigational drug studies. His publication record of more than 330 peer-reviewed papers attests to his experience with the pharmacologic, molecular, cell biologic and genetic techniques, as well as clinical development and clinical trials skills needed for cancer therapeutics development. It also documents his skill in translating discoveries made in the laboratory into novel pharmacologic strategies for enhancing the efficacy of platinum-containing treatments and other classes of drugs.

Dr. Howell earned his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude and from Harvard Medical School, where he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and then spent two years at the National Institutes of Health before returning to the Harvard system to complete a fellowship in medical oncology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Dr. Howell is co-chair of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center Solid Tumor Therapeutics program along with David Cheresh, PhD. He is also the Associate Director for Research Education and Training, Director of the Cancer Therapeutics Training Program and principal investigator of the T32 grant that supports this program.

Contact information:

Stephen B. Howell, MD
Email: showell@ucsd.edu

Executive assistant: Angela Robles
Phone: 858-822-1110