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Shelton “Shelley” Earp, MD, is the director of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Earp Lab is particularly interested in tyrosine-specific protein kinases in breast and prostate cancer, as well as lymphoma/leukemia.

Lineberger Professor of Cancer Research
Director, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Director, UNC Cancer Care
UNC-Chapel Hill
Cancer Cell Biology, Breast Cancer

Area of Interest

In my role as director I oversee the basic, translational, clinical and population science research at UNC Lineberger. My laboratory studies signal transduction in normal and neoplastic cells to determine new therapeutic options in a range of cancers including breast, lung, pancreatic, and prostate, as well as leukemias and melanoma.

We have studied members of the EGF Receptor family for almost 40 years and identified several other tyrosine kinases including MerTK, a kinase that we are studying in the innate immune system as a target that leads to an immunosuppressive tumor micro-environment. To inhibit the action of MerTK, we have teamed with UNC Lineberger’s Stephen Frye, PhD, to create small molecule MerTK inhibitors that can reverse immunosuppression and enhance immunotherapy. This collaboration has resulted in a UNC start-up company, Meryx, Inc, which now has advanced a candidate to an FDA approved Phase 1 clinical trial in solid tumor patients at UNC and Emory. A trial in AML patients is anticipated next year.

Awards and Honors

  • Oliver Max Gardner Award, UNC Board of Governors, 2023

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