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Earle Frederick Wheelock

In Memoriam: Earle Frederick Wheelock

(02/19/1927 - 08/04/2020)Member since 1968

Earle Frederick Wheelock, MD, PhD, a longtime member of the AACR, died Aug. 4, 2020, at the age of 93.

Wheelock began his undergraduate studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1944. He left school to train as an interpreter for the U.S. Army, but returned after the war, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1950. He earned his medical degree at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in 1955.

Wheelock completed his residency at the University of Rochester, then earned his PhD from The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now known as Rockefeller University) in New York City.

Wheelock’s research focused primarily on leukemia and lymphoma, including the role of interferon gamma, a cytokine that plays an important role in the immune system. Among other findings, Wheelock published research explaining how interferon gamma inhibited viral replication. He also investigated the use of immune stimulation to suppress lymphoma cells to a dormant state, discovering that prostaglandin-E2 could terminate the dormant state and that an inhibitor of prostaglandin-E2, indomethacin, could prolong the dormant state.  

Through the course of his career, Wheelock held positions at Case Western Reserve University, Thomas Jefferson University, Hahnemann University, and the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, which later became part of Drexel University College of Medicine. He was appointed to the Board of Trustees at Drexel University in 1975 and served until 1992 when he became an Emeritus Trustee.

Wheelock joined the AACR in 1968 and transitioned to Emeritus membership in 1990.