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Renowned Mesothelioma Surgeon Dr. David Sugarbaker Dies at 65

Dr. David Sugarbaker


Dr. David J. Sugarbaker, pioneer and world-renowned mesothelioma specialist, has died at 65 after a battle with liver cancer. A leader in mesothelioma treatment for 30 years, Dr. Sugarbaker will be remembered for his countless medical contributions to the mesothelioma community, lung cancer treatment, and much more. His contributions have helped countless patients and families suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) who had no other options.

In 2002, Dr. Sugarbaker founded the International Mesothelioma Program with the central goal of finding a cure for this debilitating disease. The program remains the largest of its kind, attracting patients from all over the world.

Dr. Sugarbaker earned his medical degree from Cornell University Medical School and completed a residency in surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He also completed a residency in cardiothoracic surgery at Toronto General Hospital, where he served as chief resident in both thoracic surgery and cardiac surgery. At Brigham and Women’s hospital, Dr. Sugarbaker was also a leader in the establishment of the Tissue and Blood Repository—one of the first in the U.S.

During his time at Brigham, Dr. Sugarbaker mentored hundreds of residents and fellows, demonstrating his deep commitment to teaching the next generation of physicians. His contributions to education also include establishing a visiting scholar program for thoracic surgery, a minimally invasive thoracic surgery fellowship, and a unique fellowship in thoracic oncology.

Dr. Sugarbaker received The Pioneer Award bestowed by the Mesothelioma Applied Research foundation and The Chadwick Medal awarded by the American Lung Association of the Northeast. At the time of his death, Dr. David J. Sugarbaker was professor of surgery, director of the Mesothelioma Clinical and Research Program, and head of the Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine.