In Memoriam: Meir Wetzler, MD, UB Professor, RPCI Leukemia Chief

Published February 26, 2015

Meir Wetzler, MD, a University at Buffalo professor of medicine and chief of the Leukemia Section at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, died Feb. 23 from injuries sustained during a skiing accident in Colorado.

He was 60.

Wetzler had been hospitalized in Denver since the Feb. 7 accident.

Helped Establish Care Standards for CML Patients

“All of us who worked with him and interacted with him are better people because we knew Meir.”
Alex Adjei, MD, PhD
UB professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Oncology

Nationally prominent in his field, Wetzler helped set the standard of care for patients with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML).

The Israeli-born physician 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 fellowship training in both medical oncology and clinical immunology and biological therapy at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Attracted New Clinical Trials to Benefit Cancer Patients

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 also worked tirelessly to attract new clinical trials to the cancer institute.

Wetzler joined UB’s faculty in 1999 as an associate professor, rising to the rank of professor in 2005.

Explored BCR Gene’s Role in Leukemia

Wetzler’s research focused on three areas: the role of the breakpoint cluster region (BCR) gene in chronic and acute leukemia, 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.

Recalled as Skilled Physician, Dedicated Mentor

As news of Wetzler’s death spread, colleagues remembered him as an accomplished, compassionate physician and 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, a UB professor of medicine and chairman of Roswell Park’s Department of Medicine.

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

Survivors Include Wife, 4 Children

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

Services were held March 1.