For more than two decades, the Robert A. Welke Cancer Research Foundation has been proud to fund cancer research at New York Medical College’s Brander Cancer Research Institute, directed by Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz, M.D., Ph.D., second from right, professor of pathology, medicine and microbiology and immunology. The Foundation was created to honor the late Robert A. Welke, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 1993 and underwent experimental treatments at Westchester Medical Center. From time to time, Robert Welke’s widow, Betsy Welke, second from left, and her family, including her daughter, Carley Welke, center, visit New York Medical College and Dr. Darzynkiewicz’s lab to learn about the newest advances in the fight against cancer and see the latest technology and equipment, some of which was made possible to purchase and operate through the generosity of the Welke Foundation. The equipment, consisting of Flow Cytometer/Cell Sorter and Laser Scanning Cytometer, the most sophisticated instruments to analyze individual cells, serves as a Core Facility, available to all NYMC researchers.
Dr. Darzynkiewicz’ bond with the Welke Family runs long and deep and he is always happy to share his latest work on cell proliferation, apoptosis and cell senescence with them. At the time of Mr. Welke’s treatment, Dr. Darzynkiewicz was collaborating on a study with the late Zalmen A. Arlin, M.D., then professor of medicine and chief of the division of neoplastic diseases and leukemia specialist. Dr. Arlin authorized Mr. Welke’s physicians to provide his blood and bone marrow as part of the study and investigate the best selection and combination of drugs to force his leukemia into remission. Dr. Darzynkiewicz remains as passionate about his research as the Welke’s are to support it and he is grateful for their longtime backing and encouragement. “Knowledge of the support gives us an inspiration to work as hard as we can to our common goal—to conquer cancer,” said Dr. Darzynkiewicz.
Photo from left: John T. Fallon III M.D., Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Pathology and professor of medicine, Betsy Welke, Carley Welke, Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology, medicine and microbiology and immunology, and Halina Dorot Halicka-Ambroziak, M.D., Ph.D., research assistant professor of pathology and of medicine.