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Texas Medical Center
1102 Bates Ave., Ste. 730.08
Houston, TX 77030
Alexandra M. Stevens, MD, PhD
Dr. Alexandra Stevens is singularly dedicated to fighting childhood leukemia. An expert in both the lab and at the bedside, Dr. Stevens combines her two passions—scientific research and exceptional patient care—to accomplish this goal. Dr. Stevens has been treating children with leukemia for over a decade and prides herself on knowing her patients and their families well. In fact, Dr. Stevens believes that actively engaging her patients and families and working together as a team is essential to achieving the best possible outcomes. Because the treatment plans most likely to achieve cure require it, Dr. Stevens uses a multidisciplinary approach when tailoring treatment plans to each individual patient. Dr. Stevens is board-certified in general pediatrics and pediatric hematology and oncology. Although she concentrates in childhood leukemia, Dr. Stevens routinely cares for children with all kinds of cancer when acting as the supervising physician in the hospital. She sees children with both acute lymphoid and acute myeloid (including promyelocytic) leukemias, as well as chronic myeloid leukemia, in the clinic. Dr. Stevens has specialized expertise in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia, or “AML.” She is actively involved in the development and testing of the best new available therapies for pediatric AML though her involvement with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Myeloid Disease Committee.
Dr. Stevens’ parents instilled in her their own love of research and commitment to serving others. When she lost a close friend to childhood cancer in college, Dr. Stevens’ knew that she wanted to both research childhood cancer and treat the children and families fighting it. As she progressed in her training, Dr. Stevens became particularly intrigued with childhood leukemia and AML; they contained stubborn medical mysteries and continued to devastate children and families. Her insatiable curiosity and determination to alleviate suffering made pediatric leukemia a natural area of focus for Dr. Stevens.
Dr. Stevens is a member of the Leukemia Team at Texas Children’s. She actively participates in discussions on all types of children’s leukemia cases at weekly team meetings and regularly shares both research and clinical insights with colleagues treating challenging leukemia cases. With her involvement on the Children’s Oncology Group Myeloid Disease Committee and as a Study Committee Member for the next Children’s Oncology Group trial for newly diagnosed children with AML, Dr. Stevens has easy access to research data, information about upcoming clinical trials, and new information about how to assign these complex patients to treatment protocols to achieve the highest chance of cure. Dr. Stevens feels that one of her most important roles is to help ensure that the entire leukemia team—and, by extension, patients and families—have the latest, most comprehensive information and options available to create best possible treatment plan for each and every child with AML cared for at Texas Children’s.
Dr. Stevens’ commitment to improving cure rates for pediatric AML drives the way she spends her time. She feels fortunate to be able to use the unique wealth of resources available at Texas Children’s Hospital and in the Texas Medical Center to conduct studies that would be hard to do anywhere else. For example, Dr. Stevens was able to work with Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine to initiate a clinical trial designed to predict and avoid pitfalls when incorporating atovaquone into AML treatment. In addition to running this multi-institutional trial, Dr. Stevens will serve as Texas Children's Hospital's principle investigator for the phase III pediatric AML COG trial when it opens later this year. Her expertise has earned Dr. Stevens a seat on the Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee, where she reviews external and internal clinical trials for potential inclusion in the trials available at TCH. She also helps lead the Quality Improvement team in determining research priorities for the Leukemia Team.
As an AML specialist, Dr. Stevens is actively involved in the prevention of Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSI) at Texas Children's Hospital. Because children with AML require therapy that results in prolonged periods of profound immunosuppression, and because they also require central lines to administer life-saving medications and blood products, Dr. Stevens is committed to implementing the most up-to-date data to prevent these potentially life-threatening infections. Our team includes members from Infection Control, Infectious Diseases, Nursing Leadership, and Pediatric Surgery, and we all work together closely to protect our most vulnerable patients.
Dr. Stevens’ ability to study childhood leukemia in the lab while simultaneously treating children battling the disease gives her unique insight into how best to fight it. The many diverse patients and families Dr. Stevens has come to know inspire her to give her very best at the bedside and in her lab. So do her parents, husband, two active young boys, and friend she lost. With the support of her amazing patients, family, and colleagues, Dr. Stevens is determined to improve outcomes for childhood leukemia and AML.
American Board of Pediatrics - General Pediatrics
American Board of Pediatrics - Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Dr. Stevens is currently researching ways to use safe, existing drugs to more effectively treat acute myeloid leukemia, or “AML.” Because the most effective currently available treatments for AML can be hard for children to tolerate, Dr. Stevens is particularly interested in examining how to use atovaquone, a common and well-tolerated drug with promising anti-cancer properties, to better treat pediatric AML. Finding new, tolerable drugs to combat AML would ease treatment side effects and save children’s lives. This has been and always will be Dr. Stevens’ ultimate goal.
After discovering that patients’ IL-6-induced STAT3 response at relapse in AML predicts poor clinical outcomes and that IL-6 induces chemoresistance in AML cells, Dr. Stevens began researching ways to translate these findings into effective treatments for AML. Relatedly, Dr. Stevens is conducting preclinical evaluations of direct STAT inhibitors on AML blasts.
Dr. Stevens continues to focus on how atovaquone affects the dysregulation of AML blasts and is conducting preclinical and mechanism directed evaluations of atovaquone-induced apoptosis in AML cells.
She also developed and is currently conducting a clinical trial testing how best to incorporate atovaquone into upfront pediatric AML therapy. To this end, Dr. Stevens and her team have used highly specialized immunodeficient mouse models to develop a unique AML Patient Derived Xenograft core at Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. She hopes and expects that these unique models will help her predict how to maximize atovaquone’s anti-leukemia qualities in children with AML. Furthermore, the AML PDX core is an irreplaceable resource that is rapidly becoming heavily used by other researchers at Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine to test other new agents and approaches to targeting AML.
2022 Clover Award for contributions to patient quality and safety, Texas Children's Hospital
2021 Star Award for Excellence in Patient Care, Baylor College of Medicine
2020 Norton Rose Fulbright Award in teaching and evaluation
2013-2016 K12 Faculty Fellowship in Pediatric Oncology Clinical Research
* Texas Children's Hospital physicians' licenses and credentials are reviewed prior to practicing at any of our facilities. Sections titled From the Doctor, Professional Organizations and Publications were provided by the physician's office and were not verified by Texas Children's Hospital.