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Sacha Howell, PhD FRCP


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Personal profile


Translational research into mechanisms of action and resistance of endocrine therapies, both in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer (University of Manchester)

Treatment of patients with early and advanced breat cancer at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals of South Manchester (Wythenshawe).


I graduated from The University of Nottingham Medical School in 1993 and completed basic training in medicine in Derby. I began specialist training in Medical Oncology in 1999 at The Christie Hospital and was awarded CCT in 2006. In the same year I was awarded my PhD from the University of Manchester, performed in the laboratory of Dr Robert Clarke, defining a previously unidentified role for prolactin signaling in breast cancer stem/progenitor cell regulation. Following a period as a senior clinical research fellow I was appointed as a Senior Lecturer at The University of Manchester in 2010. My professional time is divided between the clinical care of cancer patients at The Christie Hospital and both basic and clinical research at The CRUK Manchester Institute and The Christie respectively.

Research interests

My major research interest is in translation breast oncology, with a focus on endocrine therapy. I hold grants to test novel antagonists of both estrogen and progesterone receptor signaling in preclinical models in collaboration with Dr Robert Clarke in the Breast Biology Group. In addition I am chief investigator on multiple investigator led studies including a 25 centre multinational randomised phase II study testing the role of AKT inhibition in combination with the estrogen receptor down regulator fulvestrant.

Most recently I was awarded a Breast Cancer Campaign project grant to conduct a pilot study repurposing an antiprogestin from the treatment of uterine fibroids to the prevention of breast cancer. This study will harness expertise accross the Manchester Breast Centre, defining the roles of progesterone signalling in epithelial, stromal and stem cell compartments with imaging correlates of response to identify women at increased risk of breast cancer who may benefit from this preventative therapy.


I teach regularly on several university courses to undergraduate medical students and nurses

I lead on the bresat cancer module for fifth year students at the Christie Hospital and have also been invoved in the development and delivery of a breast cancer module for the 4th year students.

Since 2013 I have assumed the role of Tutor for Personal and Professional Development for phase 1 medical students

I regularly supervise medical students in PEP and project option placements and have supervised MRes, MPhil and PhD students to completion

My collaborations

Institute of Cancer Sciences

Dr Robert Clarke, Reader and Group Leader of the Breat Biology Group, CRUK Manchester Institute

Miss Cliona Kirwan, NIHR Clinican Scientist and Honorary Consultant Breast Surgeon UHSM

Dr Bruno Simoes, Post Doctoral Research Associate, Breast Biology group

Dr Denis Alfarez, Post Doctoral Research Associate, Breast Biology Group

Faculty of Life Sciences

Professor Charles Streuli

Dr Michael P Sherratt

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Member of the British Mediacl association, Association of Cancer Physicians, American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians

Methodological knowledge

Clinical trial design and conduct.

Steroid receptor signalling


B. Med. Sci., BM BS, MSc Oncology, PhD Oncology, FRCP

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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