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Harry P. Erba, MD, PhD
I entered medical school for the sole purpose of learning more about human diseases, so that I could focus my laboratory efforts on improving the human condition. However, I was surprised to find myself drawn to clinical care. I care for people afflicted by acute leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, and myeloproliferative neoplasms. In this role, I have had the privilege of treating people facing life-threatening illnesses. I strive to gain the trust of each of my patients, so that I can help them make difficult treatment decisions. I engage in clinical research, evaluating novel agents that directly target the cancer cell to improve the degree of success in treating this illness. My patients benefit from my understanding of the newest available treatments, and also have access to promising investigational agents, when appropriate. In my faculty position at Duke University, I enjoy educating current oncologists as well as the next generation of physicians.
Clinical Focus and Research
I treat people with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). In general, therapies initially developed for these cancers were drugs that killed cells that are dividing. Unfortunately, many normal cells in the body are also affected or killed by these drugs as well, leading to the unwanted toxicities of chemotherapy. Over the years, we have gained tremendous insight into the specific events that cause a cell to become cancerous and have developed better tools for distinguishing normal from cancerous cells. My clinical research effort for over 20 years has focused on the development of drugs that specifically target the abnormalities of the leukemia cell. I study the effects associated with treating people with investigational agents that target the molecular changes that are specific to blood cancers. I have been an active member of teams of doctors that have brought new treatments to people with leukemia, such as oral drugs that inactivate FLT3 and IDH. In this way we hope to improve the outcome of people with blood cancers with fewer unwanted side effects.
View Harry Erba's publications on PubMed
- First Health
- Gateway Health Alliance
- Halifax Physician-Hospital Organization
- MultiPlan / Private Healthcare Systems
- OneNet PPO
Industry Relationships and Collaborations
This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has a working relationship (i.e. consulting, research, and/or educational services) with the companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the health system leadership and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.
- Agios Pharmaceuticals
- Celgene Corporation
- Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd
- Jazz Pharmaceuticals
- Pfizer Inc.