Meir Wetzler, MD, RPCI Leukemia Chief, Dies at Age 60

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Meir Wetzler, MD

Meir Wetzler, MD, Chief of the Leukemia Section at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and University at Buffalo (UB) Professor of Medicine, died on February 23 from injuries sustained during a skiing accident in Colorado. He was 60 years old.

Nationally prominent in his field, Dr. Wetzler helped set the standard of care for patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

Born in Israel, Dr. Wetzler earned his medical degree from Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School and completed his internal medicine residency at that school’s affiliated Kaplan Hospital.

He completed his fellowship training in medical oncology, clinical immunology, and biological therapy at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Wetzler joined Roswell Park in 1994. In addition to serving as Chief of its Leukemia Section, he chaired its Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, co-chaired the Scientific Review Committee, and oversaw the leukemia tissue biorepository, among other responsibilities. He worked tirelessly to attract new clinical trials to the cancer institute.

Dr. Wetzler joined UB’s faculty in 1999 as an Associate Professor, rising to the rank of Professor in 2005.

Dr. Wetzler’s research focused on three areas: the role of the breakpoint cluster region gene in chronic and acute leukemias, the involvement of cytokines and their signal transduction in leukemogenesis, and the development of immunotherapy for leukemia.

He authored more than 100 scholarly articles and served on the CML Treatment Committee of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Colleagues remember him as an accomplished, compassionate physician, as well as a dedicated mentor to medical students, residents, and fellows.

“All of us who worked with him and interacted with him are better people because we knew Meir. He will be sorely missed,” said Alex Adjei, MD, PhD, Chief of UB’s Division of Oncology, UB Professor of Medicine, and Chairman of Roswell Park’s Department of Medicine.

Dr. Wetzler was named numerous times to the Castle Connolly list of America’s Top Doctors.

Dr. Wetzler is survived by his wife, Chana; two daughters, Mor and Shira; and two sons, Adam and Modi. ■