Dr. David Sugarbaker, Baylor College of Medicine, His Role towards Treating Mesothelioma

When you talk about mesothelioma and its treatment, you can't leave the name of Dr. David Sugarbaker. To be precise, Dr. David Sugarbaker was a renowned expert ever existed for treating severe conditions like mesothelioma.

dr.sugarbaker baylor

Those who have to face the condition in anyway might have known his name. It's because Dr. David Sugarbaker was also known from his peers as "Mr. Mesothelioma" mainly because of his huge knowledge and hundreds of achievements he has done in treating such conditions.

He is also known for designing some of his own ways of treating mesothelioma using his innovative treatment style like multimodal therapy. After giving his precious services to the nation, he died on Aug. 29, 2018.


Who's Dr. David Sugarbaker?

Dr. David Sugarbaker is a name registered in the history of doctors who have treated severe conditions like mesothelioma.

He was a specialized thoracic surgeon who was known in a plethora of mesothelioma community proudly as “Mr. Mesothelioma,”

Without any doubt, he has left behind his supreme legacy towards monitoring a large number of mesothelioma doctors across the entire nation.

He came forward to help upcoming research scholars and doctors to equip themselves with all the latest research programs that are needed for a cure to cancerous mesothelioma.

It also helped to improve existing treatment options that are already there to help patient live longer life span.

Dr. David Sugarbakeris was always commitment towards patients and also fighting various cancerous ailments in a better way.

Sugarbaker was also the former director of Lung Institute at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

With his specialization in his field and dedication towards his work, he later built his own multidisciplinary program that actually combined a mesothelioma research institute along with an unmatched clinical practice.

Sugarbacker achieved hundreds of milestones in his long career. For example, he was also a commendable chief of general thoracic surgery at Baylor, developed his reputation through the previous 25 years he had spent at Brigham and Women’s.

While Sugarbacker worked there in the hospital, he soon designed a kind of aggressive surgery called extrapleural pneumonectomy. It basically helps removing a cancerous lung, the lining around the lung and heart, along with nearby lymph nodes and a portion of the diaphragm.

He not only lived a life of a doctor but also worked as a surgical innovator that7 helped lower down operative mortality rate.

His worked also helped extending the lives of a number of patients and directed the entire mesothelioma community towards finding a cure of this disease.

During his dedicated years, Sugarbacker managed to earn all the respect of his patients and peers where a number of them travel around the world for different works.


Dr. David Sugarbaker's Message

Dr. David Sugarbaker gave a message to all those linked with the treatment of mesothelioma.

He said, “It’s an opportunity to take all that I’ve learned [in Boston] and do it on a bigger scale now,” Sugarbaker told Asbestos.com. “This is a chance to do something that could really benefit the entire mesothelioma community in a major way.” he said.

As per asbestos.com, Sugarbacker called “Mr. Mesothelioma,” by those who worked at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

While working in Boston, he founded his own International Mesothelioma Program which was one of a kind. To be precise, it was the largest institute primarily meant for the treatment and research of such ailments.

The institute lines up several medical staff and divisions to Boston from around the world.         

He's also known to have expected his efforts in Texas for making right efforts opening the door for new research efforts for anyone to help them get the best treatment available.


How Dr. David Sugarbaker Succeeded As Research Scholar

Without any doubt, Dr. David Sugarbaker conducted hundreds of researchers in his lifetime.

He was primarily looking for the precise treatment of conditions like mesothelioma.

For that he designed his own laboratories that successfully identified particular gene rations in various tumors caused by this asbestos related condition.

Sugarbacker's efforts also helped him reap a deeper and vast knowledge about mesothelioma and related medical conditions.

His approach was simply to move away from a sort of ineffective approach towards the treatment of this condition.

This is what Sugarbaker said in one of his speeches, “We are in the midst of a worldwide epidemic of mesothelioma, both in the United States and in Europe, where the epidemic is not expected to peak until 2020,” he said.

Sugarbacker worked dedicatedly to become an expert of the disease. He studied hundreds of frozen mesothelioma samples that clearly identified a few molecular markers specific to the above condition.

The findings led by his team that aided the search for many others who exposed to asbestos. And this became the only known cause of this serious illness.

During his professional journey, Sugarbaker chose to attend the Cornell University Medical School. He later completed his cardiothoracic training at Toronto General Hospital.

Finally, he returned back to Brigham as a surgeon in the year 1988 which helped start his interest in detecting the asbestos-related cancer.

Since the above research and development, a number of medical journals have been published. All the research was specifically meant on extending the lives of mesothelioma affected patients and helps them equip with more treatment options.

Please also note that Sugarbaker’s interest also included studying non-small cell cancer and esophageal cancer, lung volume reduction surgery, minimally invasive surgery, video-assisted thoracic surgery, and general thoracic surgery.

Read More- Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment



Dr. Sugarbaker Interview In 2012 Given to Asbestos.com

From the very beginning, especially after knowing his dedication towards the subject, Dr. Sugarbaker reaped great results in the field of thoracic surgery.

And this proves that David Sugarbaker who was the freshly appointed director of the Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine, became the most desired and respected expert of mesothelioma.

In other words, you can say that he was born and raised to learning different aspects of this condition.

In his family, Sugarbacker had a huge family who was one of the 10 children. Out of them 5 became doctors.


Life Lessons Given By the Surgeon

Sugarbaker has done so much towards the treatment of mesothelioma and other such diseases. For example, he came forward to acclaim International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) in Boston in the year 2002.

In his early professional life, he moved his focus towards treating life threatening conditions and from there, he simply played a major role in working towards their treatment.

He has a number of untold stories that are worth inspiring for everyone. For example, his desire and approach towards mesothelioma didn't kick start from the college of his graduation in 1979 (Cornell University Medical College).

It rather started at his home when he was listening to his father, especially when he was working with his family members at 16-acre apple orchard in Jefferson City.

At that time, he said there was huge work required to complete during summer, spring and winter when you have to run an apple farm. And you have to continue it even when you don't have any sort of positive reinforcement.

While working for all the year, you just need to have faith to get a return of your hard work.

And this is what Sugarbacker said after learning his lessons of life. He said that he learnt a lesson back from home that without getting anything positive, you have the ability to work for a long time.

The point here is that you just have to believe in your abilities. He said it actually played a great role in his outlook (with mesothelioma).

Although, a lot of research and development in treating mesothelioma is done, there is still no cure for mesothelioma.

Also Read: Asbestos: What Is Asbestos & How It Becomes the Cause for Cancer?



Is There Any Room for Hope?

Out of several experiments conducted, Sugarbacker believed there is a room for the treatment of mesothelioma. This is why he built a Lung Institute in Texas for the purpose of Mesothelioma Research. All it was done to find a cure for the same.

At some point of time, he expected it to bigger and better as compared to IMP as it combines a high class approach in the treatment of mesothelioma.

In 2014, Sugarbacker left Boston. He had to leave in the middle of a program that could have continued to thrive under the new leadership.

This is what he had once said, "When you have a hope, anything can be possible," he said. He soon got involved in his fight towards mesothelioma right after he returned from Brigham and Women’s.

It all happened when he came to know that some nearby shipyards around Boston had a long time exposure to asbestos. Due to this, it produced a handful of mesothelioma patients for him to cure.

And this is where he accepted the challenge. He also said that it was quite difficult to treat it; the only way was to stick with it. He was drawn to that after he made a number of slides.


How Patients Made to Live Longer Than Before

It was mainly through the success stories of patients that helped Sugarbacker to get motivated throughout his career. He never forgot to take pride in every single step towards finding a proper cure for mesothelioma.

He also believed that the only way to help ailing people is by giving them quality life extension.

He said there are different types of people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma. There are some who are diagnosed 10 years back and there are some who are given only a few years of life after the diagnosis.

Due to all of his achievements, Sugarbacker's patients and peers call him the leader in his field. He also featured in a plethora of events and cancer seminars.

He once appeared in one of the episodes of ABC’s “Boston Med”. The episode had featured the very treatment of a mesothelioma patient.

Also Read: How to Handle the Growing Danger of Asbestos in Schools?


Dr. Sugarbaker's Publications

Take a look at some of the publications by Dr. Sugarbaker below:


Sugarbaker, D. J., Mentzer, S. J., & Strauss, G. (1992). Extrapleural pneumonectomy in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. The Annals of thoracic surgery, 54(5), 941-946. Retrieved from http://www.annalsthoracicsurgery.org/article/0003-4975(92)90654-M/fulltext


Sugarbaker, D. J., et al. (1993). Node status has prognostic significance in the multimodality therapy of diffuse, malignant mesothelioma. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 11(6), 1172-1178. Retrieved from http://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/jco.1993.11.6.1172


Sugarbaker, D. J., Jaklitsch, M. T., & Liptay, M. J. (1995). Mesothelioma and radical multimodality therapy: who benefits?. Chest, 107(6), 345S-350S. Retrieved from http://journal.chestnet.org/article/S0012-3692(15)47946-2/abstract


Sugarbaker, D. J., et al. (1996). Extrapleural pneumonectomy in the multimodality therapy of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Results in 120 consecutive patients. Annals of surgery, 224(3), 288. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1235368/


Sugarbaker, D. J., & Norberto, J. J. (1998). Multimodality management of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Chest, 113(1), 61S-65S. Retrieved from http://journal.chestnet.org/article/S0012-3692(15)47596-8/abstract


Sugarbaker, D. J., et al. (1999). Resection margins, extrapleural nodal status, and cell type determine postoperative long-term survival in trimodality therapy of malignant pleural mesothelioma: results in 183 patients. The Journal of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, 117(1), 54-65. Retrieved from http://www.semtcvspeds.com/article/S0022-5223(99)70469-1/fulltext

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