A pioneer in the field of molecular diagnostics, Dr. David Jablons is a thoracic oncology professor and Chief of General Thoracic Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He fulfills a number of leadership roles at UCSF, including Program Leader of the Thoracic Oncology Program (TOP) and Director of the Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, as well as his stewardship of the UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center’s “bench-to-bedside” program. His applications of molecular diagnostics have helped identify patients at risk for recurrences of early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer.
Jablons’ patients have access to a broad selection of clinical trials at UCSF’s thoracic oncology laboratory, which employs next-generation sequencing, 3-D computer simulations to test for drug efficacy, and other cutting-edge technologies. One of his patients, Bonnie J. Addario, started a foundation (Addario Foundation) with Jablons that raises money for lung cancer research. Highly respected by his patients and peers alike, Jablons was named one of “America’s Top Doctors” by U.S. News and World Report.
Jablons and his team were awarded grants to study the role of Wnt signaling (molecular-level phenomena related to cancer cells) in mesothelioma and the impact of inflammation on the early development of lung cancers. The lab focuses on molecular diagnostics and therapies; systems biology and genetics; and bench-to-bedside drug development, housing one of the nation’s largest thoracic tissue bank repositories. In addition, Jablons is a co-investigator in a number of other grants with other labs, including research into new immunotherapy-based drugs for the treatment of lung cancer.
His work on cancer diagnosis and treatment has been published by Oncotarget, Clinical Lung Cancer, The Journal of Surgical Oncology, and other esteemed medical publications. One of his co-authored studies, published by the Journal of American Medical Association, looks into ways to identify patients at high risk of mortality despite having smaller lung tumors.
Jablons earned his medical degree from Albany Medical College in 1984, where he received was awarded the opportunity to train under world-renowned cancer surgeon and immunologist Steven Rosenberg. He credits this experience with stoking his lifelong interest in more precise, tailored means of delivering medicine to patients. Jablons completed his general surgery and thoracic surgery residencies at Tufts-New England Medical Center and New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, respectively. He was named Chief of General Thoracic Surgery at UCSF in 1997. During a stint as Chief of General Thoracic Surgery at the Oakland Naval Hospital, Jablons served as a Navy commander.
Early in his career, Jablons was mentored by world-renowned thoracic surgeons Robert Ginsburg at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and David Sugarbaker at Brighman & Women’s Hospital. Now, he shares his own expertise in the field as both a professor and a dedicated mentor to newer physicians and surgeons. Two of his protégés, Dr. Dan Raz and Dr. Johannes Kratz, have gone on to publish ground-breaking studies themselves and have led the development of novel, lab-based lung cancer treatment tools.
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