Dr. David Sugarbaker, M.D., the Director of the Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine and Chief of General Thoracic Surgery, is often referred to as “Mr. Mesothelioma” by his colleagues and continues to be a pioneer in the treatment of this aggressive form of cancer. Sugarbaker has earned the respect of peers and patients through his medical innovations that have resulted in a lower mortality rate and extended life expectancy for mesothelioma patients. Prior to his work in the Houston clinic, Sugarbaker served as the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, where he worked for 25 years.
During his time at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, he pioneered an aggressive method of surgery called “extrapleural pneumonectomy” (EPP), involving the removal of cancerous lungs, organ linings, and other areas of the body affected by pleural mesothelioma. This procedure is typically performed on patients who are still in the early stages of the illness and before it has had a chance to spread beyond the chest. While it has been praised for its success in allowing surgeons to remove all cancerous tissue in many patients, those in the later stages of mesothelioma generally are not candidates for EPP because its main goal is to prevent the cancer from spreading. Those who have undergone EPP often are given an additional 19 months life expectancy, in addition to better quality of life.
He also was an important innovator of multimodal treatment (or “tri-modal therapy”), an approach to particularly aggressive cancers such a mesothelioma that involves a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. The type of therapies used – and the order in which they are used – depends on the patient and how far along the illness has progressed. For example, a patient with later-stage mesothelioma who is therefore ineligible for EPP may be treated first with chemotherapy, followed by surgery if the tumors were successfully shrunk. He also employed a method called intrapleural chemotherapy, in which the drugs are applied directly to the pleural lining (as opposed to affecting the entire body).
Pleural mesothelioma has been Sugarbaker’s professional focus since 1988, when he returned to Brigham & Women’s Hospital (where he began as a resident) following a two-year intensive cardiothoracic training at the University of Toronto. He also was named Chief of the hospital’s brand-new Division of Thoracic Surgery that same year. Additionally, Sugarbaker was instrumental in the establishment of Brigham & Women’s Hospital’s Tissue and Blood Repository in 1989. With the ambitious goal of finding a cure for mesothelioma, Sugarbaker founded the International Mesothelioma Program in 2002.
Sugarbaker continues to lead innovation and collaboration in both research and clinical practice at Baylor in Houston, beginning in 2014, leading the esteemed institution’s Lung Institute with an emphasis on malignant pleural mesothelioma. As a testament to his success and commitment to care, several of his Boston patients traveled to the Texas clinic to continue their treatment under his guidance. Much of his research has been published, including a study of the challenges posed by EPP and ways to overcome them published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery in 1992.
Learn More About Mesothelioma
Asbestos Exposure Information
Did You Know?
Get Help from Experienced Mesothelioma Nurses
Learn more about these experienced mesothelioma nurses by watching the video below. Click here to contact a mesothelioma nurse now.
Learn More About MesoLawyersCare
Watch the video below to learn why MesoLawyersCare is the best choice to represent you and your family after a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Contact MesoLawyersCare Now
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please contact us to see if we can help you get the compensation you deserve from the billions of dollars in asbestos trust funds available now for qualified asbestos victims. With just one call, you can put all our experience and success to work for you.
We have represented thousands of victims of mesothelioma and their families in virtually every State in the country and in decades of work have recovered billions of dollars in financial compensation for our clients.
Call us now at 1-888-568-1177, fill out the form on this page or chat with a live person. The consultation is free and it costs nothing upfront to hire the lawyers behind MesoLawyersCare. We only get paid if you collect a settlement or verdict and you will never receive a bill from us.